Charleston 2014 – Being Earnest in the New Normal

Speaker: Anthea Stratigos, Outsell

Library budgets on average are increasing at around 3%. The publishers are fighting over the same dollars, because this is not enough growth for the needs of their business. Librarians are asking them to demonstrate the value publishers are providing.

To demonstrate value, you need to have the right team, and each member needs to know and stick to their role.

Start by having a strategy. If you don’t have a strategic plan or mission, you don’t know where you’re going nor what you’ll need to get there. Strategies aren’t fixed in stone — they must adapt as institutions change.

Understand your target markets. Who are you serving? How do they intersect? Do they intersect? When you understand who you are serving, you can better plan those services.

Understand what users want. 78% of students surveyed use the physical library daily or weekly. 44% use the digital collection. Studies have also shown that students and professors are more tied to print than we think, particularly with textbooks. However, this may not be true for your market. You need to survey your own folks to determine what their interests are.

Benchmark — there’s always something better to aspire to.

Once you understand your markets, assesed their needs, and benchmarked, then it is time to establish your portfolio. You’ll know what to add, what to drop, what to ask for money for, and what to target to whom.

Then, it’s time to brand your experience. If the library as a quite place to study is most important to your students, do you advertise that?

Engage with your community in meaningful ways to market the things that matter to them.

Deliver wow. Surprise your users. Have actionable deliverables when users ask for research assistance, particularly at the executive level, and not just pages of search results.

Measure ROI and value. Make use of your business students and give them experience doing the research in this area. Usage statistics don’t measure value, they measure volume. Tie what is happening in the library to the institution’s goals — focus on those outcomes and what role you play in that.

Be sure to play and enjoy the results of your work.

Choose your future — will it be Dewey Readmore Books or 22 Jump Street? Will it be a mascot that defines your library culture, or will it be drug trade ring using the dusty books of the library archive as the transfer point? A great library doesn’t have to have the best/newest things, it just has to transparently provide what its community needs.

ER&L 2013: Lightning Talks

“¡Rayos!” by José Eugenio Gómez Rodríguez

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.

Charleston 2012: hotel internet sucks edition

Scream by Daria
“Scream” by Daria

And so does the WordPress app for iPad, or at least the current version. I had drafts of the three sessions I attended this afternoon, ready to publish as soon as I returned to my room, which is the only place I can connect to the wifi. As soon as the WordPress connected to update, the contents of all three posts reverted to the blank drafts I had created as placeholders.

Yeah. Pissed. That’d be me right now.

In short:

Eresources librarians need to demonstrate their value to the library/university, and they either need more staff to do the increasing work, or other departments need to suck it up and process e-stuff like they should. And yes, someone needs to handle licensing, but that someone shouldn’t also be responsible for every little tiny detail of eresources management (i.e. cataloging, trouble-shooting, invoices, etc.) when there are staff already handling similar processes for other materials.

Librarians need to learn how to market eresources effectively, and assess their marketing strategies effectively. Marie Kennedy has a book coming out next year that can help you with that.

Eresources librarians (or licensing librarians) need to make sure language supporting text mining is included in their license agreements with publishers. Your researchers will thank you for it later, and your future self will be happy to not have to go back and renegotiate it into existing contracts.

IL 2012: The Next Big Thing

Moving on
“Moving on” by Craig Allen

Speaker: Dave Hesse & Brian Pichman

They used a Lazer Tag like system to set up “Hunger Games” nights in the library. They also used a bunch of interactive tech toys for different kinds of game nights.

They’re mounting tables as shelf labels that show the range in sleep mode, but when activated will display reviews and other information about books in the range, as well as other interactive multimedia.

Speaker: Sarah Houghton

Cutting stuff. Cutting lots of things out of the budget, services, etc. All of these things we learn about take time and money, and we can’t do all of them. She’s making everyone in her library earn their pet program. It has to show some sort of ROI (not specifically financial). Make business decisions about what we do and why.

Q: What did you cut that you didn’t want to?
A: Magnatune deal — really wanted to do it, but didn’t have the staff time and a negative amount of money to dedicate to anything.

Speaker: Ben Bizzle

We are doing a really poor job of marketing ourselves to our communities, and we’re wasting money on old methods and tools to do it. There are more cost-effective ways to do this, particularly for public libraries. Facebook is a really cost-effective way to market to your community over and over again, and running ads to get people in your community to like your Facebook page has been shown to be very effective. Be part of the stream without being disruptive. Facebook events invitations are disruptive and ineffective.

Next big things from the audience:

  • Would like to have a better way to provide remote authentication for users from anywhere, regardless of the speed of the connection (i.e. 3G mobile phone or a hotel wireless connection).
  • Focusing on programming that brings the Spanish-speaking and English-speaking communities together.
  • Integrating local self-published creators’ content within the rest of the library’s electronic content.
  • Trying to find better metrics to measure success for ROI.
  • Developing community investors from FOL and active volunteers.
  • Giving up paper flyers/posters and moving to digital.
  • Moving social media effort to marketing department.
  • Looking at duplicate efforts and winnowing them down.
  • Learning how to code.
  • Hiring part-time and hiring non-librarians.
  • FRBR. RDA. Say no more.
  • Advocacy. Facetime with politicians and other sources of funding.
  • Would like to hear more from public libraries on ‘bring your own device’ initiatives that could be applied in the academic library setting.
  • Gamification of library resources and services.
  • Wikipedia – we should be creating more content there.
  • Better relationships with publishers.
  • The next level of life-long learning like Coursera and making the library a hub for it.
  • Downloadble database of music by local musicians.
  • Copyright, curations, folksonomies, and other issues of creating communities.
  • Podcasting.
  • Digitization projects that engage specific communities.
  • Keeping my head above water. Migrating to a more self-service model while maintaining a high level of service.
  • Moving to a new ILS. Proprietary or open source?
  • Reaching out to atypical non-users. Running ads in local for sale magazines.
  • Lock-in gaming nights.

IL 2012: CULC and eBound

Holbeach e-book marker [old photo]
“Holbeach e-book marker [old photo]” by Paul Stainthorp
Speaker: Ken Roberts

Background: Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC) member libraries serve 70% of the Canadian population, and 98% of the circulation of materials. eBound is the Canadian eContent distribution arm for more than 100 Canadian publishers.

Publishers really needed a purchase model, not a licensing model, because their contracts with authors talked about sales. Libraries, on the other hand, preferred a license model. There was also some concern from the publishers that rights would be implemented in the way they were intended. And, they needed a third party partner to find a vendor who could handle the responsibility of housing and mediating the circulation of the ebooks, which is where eBound came in.

The purchase model seems a bit complex, and focuses primarily on the publisher’s back catalog at a very low rate per title ($10) sold in large blocks to the entire system. This addresses the publisher’s concern that the midlist authors aren’t getting exposure in libraries. And, if the circulation is low, the price drops after a period of time. The titles have a “worn out” rate of approximately 40 circulations. Some titles can be purchased at a higher rate for preservation purposes and would be DRM-free.

They expect to roll out the vendor side systems next spring, and once that is settled, then it would be rolled out to CULC members.

NASIG 2012: Mobile Websites and APP’s in Academic Libraries Harmony on a Small Scale

Speaker: Kathryn Johns-Masten, State University of New York Oswego

About half of American adults have smart phones now. Readers of e-books tend to read more frequently than others. They may not be reading more academic material, but they are out there reading.

SUNY Oswego hasn’t implemented a mobile site, but the library really wanted one, so they’ve created their own using the iWebKit from MIT.

Once they began the process of creating the site, they had many conversations about who they were targeting and what they expected to be used in a mobile setting. They were very selective about which resources were included, and considered how functional each tool was in that setting. They ended up with library hours, contact, mobile databases, catalog, ILL article retrieval (ILLiad), ask a librarian, Facebook, and Twitter (in that order).

When developing a mobile site, start small and enhance as you see the need. Test functionality (pull together users of all types of devices at the same time, because one fix might break another), review your usage statistics, and talk to your users. Tell your users that it’s there!

Tools for designing your mobile site: MobiReady, Squeezer, Google Mobile Site Builder, Springshare Mobile Site Builder, Boopsie, Zinadoo, iWebKit, etc.

Other things related to library mobile access… Foursquare! The library has a cheat sheet for answers to the things freshman are required to find on campus, so maybe they could use Foursquare to help with this. Tula Rosa Public Library used a screen capture of Google Maps to help users find their new location. QR codes could link to ask a librarian, book displays linked to reviews, social media, events, scavenger hunts, etc. Could use them to link sheet music to streaming recordings.

NASIG 2011: Polishing the Crystal Ball — Using Historical Data to Project Serials Trends and Pricing

Speakers: Steve Bosch & Heather Klusendorf

The Library Journal periodicals price survey was developed in partnership with EBSCO when the ALA pulled the old column to publish in American Libraries. There is a similar price survey being done by the AALL for law publications.

There is a difference between a price survey and a price index. A price survey is a broad look, and a price index attempts to control the categories/titles included.

[The next bit was all about the methodology behind making the LJ survey. Not why I am interested, so not really taking notes on it.]

Because of the challenge of getting pricing for ejournals, the survey is based mainly on print prices. That being said, the trends in pricing for print is similar to that of electronic.

Knowing the trends for pricing in your specific set of journals can help you predict what you need to budget for. While there are averages across the industry, they may not be accurate depending on the mix in your collection. [I am thinking that this means that the surveys and indexes are useful for broad picture looks at the industry, but maybe not for local budget planning?]

It is important to understand what goes into a pricing tool and how it resembles or departs from local conditions in order to pick the right one to use.

Budgets for libraries and higher education are not in “recovery.” While inflation calmed down last year, they are on the rise this year, with an estimate of 7-8%. The impact may be larger than at the peak of the serials pricing crisis in the 1990s. Libraries will have less buying power, and users will have less resources, and publishers will have fewer customers.

Why is the inflation rate for serials so much higher than the consumer price index inflation rate? There has been an expansion of higher education, which adds to the amount of stuff being published. The rates of return for publishers are pretty much normal for their industry. There isn’t any one reason why.

VLACRL Spring 2011: Clay Shirky, Fantasy Football, and the Future of Library Collections

As we shift to a demand-driven collection development approach, we will better be able to provide content at the point of need.

Speaker: Greg Raschke

Raschke started off with several assumptions about the future of library collections. These should not be a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention: The economics of our collections is not sustainable – the cost and spend has gone up over the years, but there is a ceiling to funding, so we need to lower the costs of the entire system. We’re at a tipping point where just in case no longer delivers at the point of need. We must change the way we collect, and it will be hard, but not impossible.

The old system of supply-side collection development assumes that we’re working with limited resources (i.e. print materials), so we have to buy everything just in case someone needs it 10 years down the road when the book/journal/whatever is out of print. As a result, we judge the quality of a collection by its size, rather than by its relevance to the users. All of this contributes to an inelastic demand for journals and speculative buying.

The new system of demand-driven collections views them as drivers of research and teaching. It’s not really a new concept so much as a new workflow. There’s less tolerance in investing in a low-use collection, so there is an increase in the importance of use data and modifying what we collect based on that use data. The risks of not evolving and failing to innovate can be seen in the fate of the newspapers, many of whom held onto the old systems for too long and are dying or becoming irrelevant as a result.

Demand-driven collection development can create a tension between the philosophy of librarians as custodians of scholarship and librarians as enablers of a digital environment for scholars. Some think that this type of collection development may result in lower unit costs, but the reality is that unless the traditions of tenure and promotion change, the costs of publishing scholarly works will not go down. One of the challenging/difficult aspects of demand-driven collection development is that we won’t be getting new funds to do it – we must free funds from other areas in order to invest in these new methods (i.e. local digital production and patron-driven acquisitions).

The rewards of adapting are well worth it. The more our constituencies use the library and its resources, the more vital we become. Look at your data, and then bet on the numbers. Put resources into enabling a digital environment for your scholars.

Demand-driven collection development is not just patron-driven acquisitions! It’s about becoming an advanced analyst and increasing the precision in collection development. For NCSU‘s journal review, they look at downloads, impact factors, publications by NCSU authors, publications that cite NCSU authors, and gather feedback from the community. These bibliometrics are processed through a variety of formulas to standardize them for comparison and to identify outliers.

For print resources, they pulled circulation and bibliographic information out of their ILS and dropped it into SAS to assess the use of these materials over time. It was eye-opening to see what subject areas saw circulation greater than one over 10 years from the year they were added to the collection and those that saw no circulations. As a result, they were able to identify funds that could go towards supporting other areas of the collection, and they modified the scopes of their approval profiles. [A stacked graph showing the use of their collection, such as print circulation, ejournals/books downloads, reserves, and ILL has been one of their most popular promotional tools.]

As we shift to a demand-driven collection development approach, we will better be able to provide content at the point of need. This includes incorporating more than just our local collections (i.e. adding HathiTrust and other free resources to our catalog). Look to fund patron-driven acquisitions that occur both in the ebook purchasing models and through ILL requests. Integrate electronic profiling with your approval plans so that you are not just looking at purchasing print. Consider ebook packages to lower the unit costs, and use short-term loans for ebooks as an alternative to ILL. Get content to users in the mode they want to consume it. Do less speculative buying, and move money into new areas. It is imperative that libraries/librarians collaborate with each other in digital curation, digital collections, and collective bargaining for purchases.

There are challenges, of course. You will encounter the CAVE people. Data-driven and user-driven approaches can punish niche areas, disciplinary variation, and resources without data. The applications and devices we use to interact with digital content are highly personalized, which is a challenge for standardizing access.

I asked Raschke to explain how he evaluates resources that don’t have use data, and he says he’s more likely to stop buying them. For some resources, he can look at proxy logs and whether they are being cited by authors at his institution, but otherwise there isn’t enough data beyond user feedback.

HarperCollins & the future of ebooks in libraries

I’ve been thinking about the whole debacle over the past few days, and imagining what living models would work best for libraries, publishers, and authors. I am thinking specifically of popular works, as they are a different breed and have different uses than academic works.

The problem is that we keep trying to treat ebooks like they are the same kind of scarce as paper books. They aren’t the same thing at all. The scarcity is manufactured, and unnecessarily so.

I think the best solution for popular ebooks and libraries is a subscription or lease model. Give libraries unlimited simultaneous access to ebooks. Let the libraries regulate who can access them. Charge a flat rate or per use rate or whatever will make a profit on the whole without breaking library budgets.

I realize that authors are paid based on how many volumes sold, and I will leave it up to the lawyers to determine how many subscription uses are equivalent to a sale.

The benefit to libraries is that as the popularity of titles wane, they aren’t stuck with a bunch of unwanted ebooks. The benefit for publishers is that their entire catalog, front and back, is readily available to readers, lengthening the long tail of sales.

And that’s the aspect of library books that isn’t given as much weight as it should. Granted, I am a book person, so perhaps my experience is skewed. However, there a several series and authors that I collect in hardcover now that I was introduced to through my library. I am a cheap reader, so buying in hardcover is something I reserve only for things I really enjoy and plan to hold onto for a long time. I’m not going to buy a hardcover of something unknown, particularly not at list price. I think too often publishers don’t take advantage of the marketing opportunities that libraries provide.

Edited: Wrong publisher. D’oh.

ER&L: Toward the Digital Public Library of America

Speaker: Amanda French

Korea has a national digital library that recently opened a physical space in Seoul. It is not small or inexpensive, and contains a large collection. They are digitizing books, and have more than what is available in Netlibrary. The equipment in the building is high tech and varied, with multiple purposes in use. You can see photos of this on Flickr.

This is not about the wow factor. This is about providing information and resources to the citizens of Korea. They changed laws to allow the di-brarians to collect as much as they can from everywhere.

There is some talk of building a national digital library in the US, but only in a virtual sense. It started from a classical/Jeffersonian perspective, but public librarians have gotten involved, and the scope has widened.

The library is a public good and should be municipally supported, but this concept is relatively new in US history. However, recent financial woes have caused these entities to reduce or remove funding. In one town, the public checked out every book in the building to protest the closing of the library.

The biggest barrier to creating a national digital library in the Us is copyright laws. Korea was willing to change laws, but is our government? Do we have the funding to pay for enough lobbyists?

The text of this talk is available on her blog. This is just my paraphrase of the points she made.