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?
Sees herself as a community builder for the greater benefit of the profession as a whole.
There is a lot going on in libraries, and it can be overwhelming. At the same time, it’s an exciting time to be a librarian. If we embrace the challenge of the change and see the opportunities, we will be okay.
We are at “the incunabula period of the digital age.” -T. Scott Plutchak
The network changes everything. See also: Networked by Lee Raine & Barry Wellman
This can be good, or it can be bad (see also: Google Buzz). We have the opportunity to reach beyond our home institutions to have a broader impact.
Data has many different facets. We are talking about data-driven decision making, research data, data curation, linked (open) data, and library collections as data.
When we started digitizing our collections, we had a very library/museum portal view that was very proscribed. The DPLA wanted to avoid this, letting folks pull data through APIs and display it however they want. When we start freeing our stuff from the containers, we start seeing some new research questions and scholarship.
“Local collections are the dark matter of a linked data world.” -Susan Hildreth, Director of IMLS
Catalog and pay attention to the unique things that are at your institution. We need original catalogers back. This is the golden age for catalogers. We need to reinvent the way we process the hard and difficult things to describe. It’s about the services, not the stuff.
If the car was developed in the library, it would have been called the e-horse. Please don’t hire a data curation librarian or eresearch librarian or … data and local content is everyone’s job. The silos have to come down in our services, too. By silo-ing off the jobs, we’re not harnessing the power of the network.
Print-based societies needed the buildings, but in the digital society, it’s more about the connections. We should talk about what librarians do, not what libraries do. Do we want to serve our buildings or serve our communities? We cannot allow the care and feeding of our buildings to define us. The mission is what defines us.
Our mission is greater than our job. “Our mission is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities.” (R. David Lankes) If this isn’t why you show up every day, then maybe it’s time to reassess your life and career choice.
We are a community, with permeable borders, and room at the table for everyone. But, this causes a lot of fear and anxiety, and can raise the spectre of the snark. This is detrimental to open community development.
Snark: “I really wish the DPLA would do ___.”
Frick: “The DPLA is you! Show up!”
If we come with our 10lb hammer to smack down every new idea, we will not be able to move forward.
Vulnerability is “the courage to show up and allow ourselves to be seen.” (Dr. Brene Brown) Be open to feedback — it is a function of respect. Admitting a vulnerability builds strength and trust, and a culture of shared struggle/experience.
We need to hang out with not the usual suspects. If this is the 10th time in a row that you’ve attended a particular conference, maybe you need to try something new. We need to think of librarianship outside of our normal communities.
The hacker epistemology says to adopt a problem-solving mindset, and the truth is what works. Our “always” of doing things will not translate to the networked world. The #ideadrop house was a wild success. People wanted to share their ideas with librarians!
Jason Griffey created the library boxes — small hard drives with wifi capability that allow anyone to access and download the content. They put them everywhere at SXSW — pedicabs, volunteers carrying them around, etc.
How do you communicate your ideas to people outside of your community?
In this world of networked individualism, our success is up to us. We have to have a personal responsibility to the longevity and success of our profession. This golden moment for librarianship is brief, so we have to act now. Be engaged. Be there.
How do you lead? Leadership is not being an AUL or head of a department. We lead by example, no matter where you are.
The stuff that’s easy to count really isn’t important. We need to have a national holiday from performance metrics.
Dare a little. Be more open. Take more risks, even if they’re small. Be easy on yourself.
It’s safe to say that discovery products have not received a positive response from the librarians who are expected to use them. We always talk about the users, and we forget that librarians are users, and are probably in them more than the typical freshman. They are new, and new things can be scary.
OSU has Summon, which they brought up in 2010. She thinks that even though this is mostly about her experience with Summon, it can be applied to other discovery tools and libraries. They had a federated search from 2003-2010, but toward the latter years, librarians had stopped teaching it, so when discovery services came along, they went that way.
Initially, librarians had a negative view of the one search box because of their negative experience with federated searching. Through the process of the implementation, they gathered feedback from the librarians, and the librarians were hopeful that this might live up to the promise that federated search did not. They also surveyed librarians outside of OSU, and found a broad range from love it to not over my dead body, but most lived in the middle, where it depended on the context.
Most librarians think they will use a discovery tool in teaching lower division undergraduates, but it depends if it’s appropriate or not. The promise of a discovery tool is that librarians don’t have to spend so much time teaching different tools, so they could spend more time talking about evaluating sources and the iterative process of research. Some think they actually will do that, but for now, they have simply added the discovery tool to the mix.
Participation in the implementation process is key for getting folks on board. When librarians are told “you must,” it doesn’t go over very well. Providing training and instruction is essential. There might be some negative feedback from the students until they get used to it, and librarians need to be prepared for that. Librarians need to understand how it works and where the limitations fall. Don’t underestimate the abilities of librarians to work around you.
These tools are always changing. Make sure that folks know that it has improved if they don’t like it at first. Make fun (and useful) tools, and that the librarians know how to create scoped tools that they can use for specific courses. If you have a “not over my dead body,” team teaching might be a good approach to show them that it could be useful.
Initially there were mixed perceptions, but more are starting to incorporate it into their instruction. With so many products out there, we really need to move away from teaching all of them and spending more time on good research/search skills.
Students “get” discovery services faster if it is introduced as the Google of library stuff.
Move away from teaching sources and towards teaching the process. Enhance the power of boolean searching with faceted searching. Shift from deliberate format searching (book, article, etc.) toward mixed format results that are most relevant to the search.
Moderator: Dan Tonkery Panel: Roger Schonfeld (ITHAKA S + R), Jon Law (ProQuest), Amira Aaron (Northeastern University), Brian Duncan (EBSCO), & Susan Stearns (Ex Libris)
What features of discovery services do students prefer? What ones do they dislike?
Law: The search box is intuitive and familiar, and their expectations of speed are set by web search engines. Being able to quickly scan the abstract to see if it is relevant, and then quickly retrieve the content when they want it.
Stearns: Needs to be flexible and reflective of different user types and the environment they are in. Contextual searching based on who they are and how they look for information. Students also expect to access related content about their relationship with libraries (i.e. materials checked out, notices).
Duncan: Finding the results on the first page, and at least the second page. Metadata and relevancy are important.
What impact is open access having on discovery?
Aaron: Depends on the model of OA. Not really sure if it has an impact on discovery systems yet. It has and will have an impact on discovery in general, but not sure if it’s impacting library discovery systems any more or less than open web searches.
Law: Our customers are turning OA links on in the discovery service.
Stearns: It’s easy to make the OA content available, but are you managing it? How does this impact back-office workflows?
Will discovery services replace the online catalog?
Stearns: It’s been painful for some libraries, but yes. There is no OPAC in next generation library systems, it’s all about discovery. And we need to get over it. Discovery services need to have the functionality of the OPAC (things librarians like). This is an opportunity to rethink workflows and what you do with metadata in a discovery environment.
What are the advantages of selling both a family of databases and a discovery service?
Duncan: Users have automatic full-text because it’s built into the system and doesn’t need to go through OpenURL. Thinking a lot about how to make this simpler for students and integrating high-quality metadata from A&I sources along with the full-text.
Aaron: That’s fine for the vendor, but it takes away the choice for the librarian as to where to send the user. It’s taking away choice.
Law: We want our discovery service to be content-provider neutral.
What impact can libraries reasonably expect discovery services to have on traffic patterns?
Schonfeld: We see the majority of traffic coming from Google and Google Scholar, at least for JSTOR. If the objective is to change where users are starting their research, then we need different ways of measuring that and determining success.
Stearns: Our customers are thinking about not only having the one search box on the web page, but also where else can you embed linking and making sure the connections work, particularly when users come in from different sources.
Aaron: Success is not measured by how many people come to your website and start there, it’s how they get to the content from wherever they go.
What metrics do librarians expect from discovery services?
Aaron: Search statistics aren’t very meaningful in the context of discovery services. Click-through, content sources — those are the important metrics.
Schonfeld: This is not just a new product – it replaces old products, so we need to think about it differently. Libraries might want to know what share of their users is coming from what sources (i.e. discovery services, Wikipedia, Google, etc.). It’s still early days to be able to come to any strong conclusions.
Duncan: Need to measure searches that don’t result in any click-throughs as well.
Does your discovery product provide title-level information to the user community and how often is it updated?
Law: How do you measure your collection? We need some definition around this in order to know how to tell libraries how much of it is indexed in our discovery service. We are starting to do more collection analysis for libraries.
Duncan: The title list doesn’t equate to the deep metadata of an A&I database. If we don’t have the deep metadata, we don’t say we have the same coverage as that database. Full text searching is not a replacement for controlled vocabulary and metadata, it’s just a component of it.
Stearns: We also want to make sure the collections we expose are actually the ones the users access, by looking at historical usage information.
Aaron: It’s important to have the deep metadata, and it’s troubling that the content providers aren’t playing well together. I should be able to display content we purchase to our users in whatever interface I want. If I can’t, I may not continue to purchase or lease that content. It’s the same problem we had with link resolvers years ago. If you really care about the user and libraries, then start playing together.
[Missed the last question because I was still flying high from Aaron’s call-out, but it was something dull about how much customization is available in the discovery system, or something like that. Couldn’t tell from the responses. Go read product information for the answers.]
Speaker: Emily Guhde, NCLIVE
“We’ve Got Your Number: Making Usage Data Matter” is the project they are working on. What is a good target cost per use for their member libraries? They are organizing this by peer groups. How can the member libraries improve usage? They are hoping that other libraries will be able to replicated this in the future.
Speaker: Francis Kayiwa, UIC
He is a server administrator with library training, and wanted to be here to understand what it is his folks are coming back and asking him to do. Cross-pollinate conferences — try to integrate other kinds of conferences happening nearby.
Speaker: Annette Bailey, Virginia Tech
Co-developed LibX with her husband, now working on a new project to visualize what users are clicking on after they get a search result in Summon. This is a live, real-time visualization, pulled from the Summon API.
Speaker: Angie Rathnel, University of Kansas
Have been using a SAS called Callisto to track and claim eresources. It tracks access to entitlements daily/weekly, and can check to make sure proxy configurations are set up correctly.
Speaker: Cindy Boeke, Southern Methodist University
Why aren’t digital library collections included with other library eresources on lists and such (like the ubiquitous databases A-Z page)?
Speaker: Rick Burke, SCELC
SIPX to manage copyright in a consortial environment. Something something users buying access to stuff we already own. I’m guessing this is more for off-campus access?
Speaker: Margy Avery, MIT Press
Thinking about rich/enhanced digital publications. Want to work with libraries to make this happen, and preservation is a big issue. How do we catalog/classify this kind of resource?
Speaker: Jason Price, Claremont Colleges
Disgruntled with OpenURL and the dependency on our KB for article-level access. It is challenging to keep our lists (KBs) updated and accurate — there has to be a better way. We need to be working with the disgrundterati who are creating startups to address this problem. Pubget was one of the first, and since then there is Dublin Six, Readcube, SIPX, and Callisto. If you get excited about these things, contact the startups and tell them.
Speaker: Wilhelmina Ranke, St. Mary’s University
Collecting mostly born digital collections, or at least collections that are digitized already, in the repository: student newspaper, video projects, and items digitized for classroom use that have no copyright restrictions. Doesn’t save time on indexing, but it does save time on digitizing.
Speaker: Bonnie Tijerina, Harvard
The #ideadrop house was created to be a space for librar* to come together to talk about librar* stuff. They had a little free library box for physical books, and also a collection of wireless boxes with free digital content anyone could download. They streamed conversations from the living room 5-7 times a day.
Speaker: Rachel Frick Digital Public Library of America focuses on content that is free to all to create a more informed citizenry. They want to go beyond just being a portal for content. They want to be a platform for community involvement and conversations.
Speakers: Dani Roach & Carolyn DeLuca, University of Saint Thomas
We’re all very familiar with print serials cancellation projects, but now we’re starting to see this in the electronic world, particularly as more libraries are walking away from big deals. There are lots of documents talking about the life-cycle of an eresource, but cancellation hasn’t really been addressed until recently, with the TERMS section covering it along with others.
As much work as it is to get into a relationship with a vendor/resource, it’s just has hard to leave it.
Eresource breakups are often caused by the renewal time, low use, high cost, etc. The heart-breaker could be internal players like the liaison or ERMS staff acting as the divorce lawyer once the decision was made, or external players like the publisher/provider/broker/consortium/vendor.
The three types of breakups are cancelled, ceased, or migrated. In each case, you need to assess the status, the holdings, the platform, and the provider. There are some things we have control over, but there are many more things outside of our control, due to the marketplace around information. Don’t take it personally, libraries. It’s not about you.
There are tools where you make the change (catalog, ERM, course management system, and paper files, proxy config, local tools, customized holdings, archives/Portico/local), and then there are tools where you announce the change (LibGuides, RefWorks, site-wide search metadata, blogs & other social media).
UKSG created a cancellation form, which looks lovely. And sadly, our ERMS can’t track everything.
Vendors can play the role of best friend. They want to help, and make sure we’re making the right decision so we don’t come back crying on their shoulder later. Some tips: Know who signed the license, confirm post-cancellation rights, do not count on a refund, plan cancellations and migrations well in advance of renewal, and know what you want (if replacing a product, do your research).
Considerations from the publisher/provider: ownership transfers, licensing, grace periods, overlap periods, and personal relationships.
When does it end? In general, the library gets to decide when to shut it down. It could be immediate, or you could wait until the end of the semester or the end of the subscription term. Sometimes resources are put on probation and given some time to demonstrate value to the community.
What’s left? Post-cancellation access? Deleting or weeding — did you ask the provider to remove the old edition? When a product has migrated, you’ll need to change the tutorials, screenshots, videos, etc.