NASIG 2015 – Building a Social Compact for Preserving E-Journals

locksscat
LOCKSS Cat

Speaker: Anne Kenney, University Librarian, Cornell University

30 years ago when NASIG began, we wouldn’t have been worrying about the preservation of ejournals. But we do. The digital-first ecology disrupts traditional roles and responsibilities, with publishers now being responsible for preserving the journal content rather than libraries. We’re still trying to figure out how to manage the preservation and access.

60% of Cornell’s collections expenditures goes to online resources. An Ithaka survey shows that most institution types spend more on online and ongoing resources than on any other collection format. The same survey found that Doctoral institutions are far more interested in preservation of online materials than Masters and Baccalaureate schools.

A study of library directors identified several issues for libraries:

  • sense of urgency
  • need for trusted independent archiving
  • content coverage and access conditions
  • resource commitment and competing priorities
  • need for collective response

There was a need for a non-profit preservation program separate from publisher projects, with a focus on scholarly journals. Portico, Scholar’s Portal, and CLOCKSS are the three main programs still existing that meet the needs of ejournal preservation. They are being supported to varying degrees by ARLs.

The coverage in these three programs is uneven and it’s difficult to create a definitive list. The major publishers are represented, and there is significant duplication across the services. She’s not losing sleep over the preservation of Elsevier journals, for example. STM literature in English is very well preserved.

The Keepers Registry attempts to gather and maintain digital content information from repositories archiving ejournals. KBART could be useful for keeping this data clean and updated.

2CUL did a study in 2011 to see how well their content was being preserved in LOCKSS and/or Portico, and only 13-16% of their titles were preserved. Most are those that have ISSNs or eISSNs, which is only about half of the titles held by the schools. They expanded to include Duke in 2012 and looked at all the preservation sources in the Keepers Registry. Only 23-27% of the ejournals with e/ISSNs were preserved, and there was considerable redundancy across the preservation programs.

Vulnerable content that is not being preserved well includes third-party content, aggregator content, small publishers, open access titles, and historical publications. They are looking to create some best practices for OA journal preservation.

The preservation programs need better coordination to identify what redundancy is necessary and how to incorporate more unique content. Right now, they see themselves more as competitors than collaborators, and that needs to change.

All of the scholarly record must be preserved, and it’s the responsibility of everyone in the scholarly communication world, not just libraries. Much of the content is at risk and no one can do this alone. No single archiving program will meet all needs, and they need more transparency and cooperation. License terms are inadequate for most preservation needs, and maybe we need legislation to cover legal deposits. We need clearer and broader triggers for when we can access the preserved content (there is a concern for the long-term financial sustainability of a dark archive).

Libraries need to acknowledge this is a shared responsibility, regardless of size and type of library. Publishers are not the enemies in this domain. Participate in at least one initiative. Move beyond a registry of archived publications to identify at-risk materials critical to scholarship.

Publishers need to enter into relationships with one or more ejournal archiving programs. Provide adequate information and data to archivers on coverage. Extend liberal archiving rights in license agreements, and consider new terms for access.

Archiving programs need to expand coverage to include vulnerable materials. Be explicit about coverage, and secure access rights.

NASIG can raise awareness of this issue. Endorse power of collective action. Consider a set of principles and actions, such as the KBART standard and revising SERU to include better terms for archiving. Foment international cooperation with other organizations and funding bodies.

ER&L 2012: Next Steps in Transforming Academic Libraries — Radical Redesign to Mainstream E-Resource Management

The smallest details add up
photo by Garrett Coakley

Speaker: Steven Sowell

His position is new for his library (July 2011), and when Barbara Fister saw the job posting, she lamented that user-centered collection development would relegate librarians to signing licenses and paying invoices, but Sowell doesn’t agree.

Values and assumptions: As an academic library, we derive our reason for existing from our students and faculty. Our collections are a means to an end, rather than an end to themselves. They can do this in part because they don’t have ARL-like expectations of themselves. A number of studies has shown that users do a better job of selecting materials than we do, and they’ve been moving to more of a just in time model than a just in case.

They have had to deal with less money and many needs, so they’ve gotten creative. The university recently realigned departments and positions, and part of that included the creation of the Collections & Resource Sharing Department (CRSD). It’s nicknamed the “get it” department. Their mission is to connect the community to the content.

PDA, POV, PPV, approval plans, shelf-ready, and shared preservation are just a few of the things that have changed how we collect and do budget planning.

CRSD includes collection development, electronic resources, collections management, resource sharing & delivery, and circulation (refocusing on customer service and self-servicing, as well as some IT services). However, this is a new department, and Sowell speaks more about what these things will be doing than about what they are doing or how the change has been effective or not.

One of the things they’ve done is to rewrite position descriptions to refocus on the department goals. They’ve also been focusing on group facilitation and change management through brainstorming, parking lot, and multi-voting systems. Staff have a lot of anxiety over feeling like an expert in something and moving to where they are a novice and having to learn something new. They had to say goodbye to the old routines, mix them with new, and then eventually make the full shift.

They are using process mapping to keep up with the workflow changes. They’re also using service design tools like journey mapping (visualization of the user’s experience with a service), five whys, personas, experience analogy, and storyboards (visualization of how you would like things to occur).

For the reference staff, they are working on strategic planning about the roles and relationships of the librarians with faculty and collections.

Change takes time. When he proposed this topic, he expected to be further along than he is. Good communication, system thinking, and staff involvement are very important. There is a delicate balance between uncertainty/abstract with a desire for concrete.

Some unresolved issues include ereaders, purchasing rather than borrowing via ILL and the impact on their partner libraries, role of the catalog as an inventory in the world of PDA/PPV. The re-envisioning of the collection budget as a just in time resource. Stakeholder involvement and assessment wrap up the next steps portion of his talk.

Questions:
In moving print to the collection maintenance area, how are you handling bundled purchases (print + online)? How are you handling the impression of importance or lack thereof for staff who still work with traditional print collection management? Delicately.

Question about budgeting. Not planning to tie PDA/PPV to specific subjects. They plan to do an annual review of what was purchased and what might have been had they followed their old model.

How are they doing assessment criteria? Not yet, but will take suggestions. Need to tie activities to student academic success and teaching/researching on campus. Planning for a budget cut if they don’t get an increase to cover inflation. Planning to do some assessment of resource use.

What will you do if people can’t do their new jobs? Hopefully they will after the retraining. Will find a seat for them if they can’t do what we hope they can do.

What are you doing to organize the training so they don’t get mired in the transitional period? Met with staff to reassure them that the details will be worked out in the process. They prepared the ground a bit, and the staff are ready for change.

Question about the digital divide and how that will be addressed. Content is available on university equipment, so not really an issue/barrier.

What outreach/training to academic departments? Not much yet. Will honor print requests. Subject librarians will still have a consultative role, but not necessarily item by item selection.

recommended reading: The Loris in the Library

No, it’s not a new children’s book. Rather, it’s a wonderful essay by Sarah Glassmeyer that was recently published in VoxPopuLII. Here are a few tasty quotes that I quite enjoyed:

…if an overly cautious, slow moving, non-evolving primate that responds to threats by a poison tongue or hiding and pretending the threat isn’t there didn’t remind you of anything, well then I guess you haven’t spent much time around librarians.

and

…librarians don’t cling to print materials out of some romantic notion of the superiority of books, nor do they make repeated demands for stable, authenticated archives of electronic materials just to make you crazy. When one is tasked with the preservation of information – on behalf not just of those looking for it ten years from now, but also of those looking hundreds if not thousands of years from now – and no one else is really in the information distribution or storage business, it pays to take one’s time and be cautious when determining what container to put that information in, especially when what you’ve been doing for the past 1,000 or so years has been working for you.

and

…with librarians this risk aversion has grown like a cancer and now manifests itself as a fear of failure. This fear has become so ingrained in the culture that innovation and progress are inhibited.

and

As it stands now, librarian participation in a multidisciplinary project is often regarded as more of a hindrance than a help. If librarians don’t change, they will eventually stop being invited to the conversation.

ER&L 2010: We’ve Got Issues! Discovering the right tool for the job

Speaker: Erin Thomas

The speaker is from a digital repository, so the workflow and needs may be different than your situation. Their collections are very old and spread out among several libraries, but are still highly relevant to current research. They have around 15 people who are involved in the process of maintaining the digital collection, and email got to be too inefficient to handle all of the problems.

The member libraries created the repository because they have content than needed to be shared. They started with the physical collections, and broke up the work of scanning among the holding libraries, attempting to eliminate duplications. Even so, they had some duplication, so they run de-duplication algorithms that check the citations. The Internet Archive is actually responsible for doing the scanning, once the library has determined if the quality of the original document is appropriate.

The low-cost model they are using does not produce preservation-level scans; they’re focusing on access. The user interface for a digital collection can be more difficult to browse than the physical collection, so libraries have to do more and different kinds of training and support.

This is great, but it caused more workflow problems than they expected. So, they looked at issue tracking problems. Their development staff already have access to Gemini, so they went with that.

The issues they receive can be assigned types and specific components for each problem. Some types already existed, and they were able to add more. The components were entirely customized. Tasks are tracked from beginning to end, and they can add notes, have multiple user responses, and look back at the history of related issues.

But, they needed a more flexible system that allowed them to drill-down to sub-issues, email v. no email, and a better user interface. There were many other options out there, so they did a needs assessment and an environmental scan. They developed a survey to ask the users (library staff) what they wanted, and hosted demos of options. And, in the end, Gemini was the best system available for what they needed.

Ithaka’s What to Withdraw tool

Have you seen the tool that Ithaka developed to determine what print scholarly journals you could withdraw (discard/store) that are already in your digital collections? It’s pretty nifty for a spreadsheet. About 10-15 minutes of playing with it and a list of our print holdings resulted in giving me a list of around 200 or so actionable titles in our collection, which I passed on to our subject liaison librarians.

The guys who designed it are giving some webinar sessions, and I just attended one. Here are my notes, for what it’s worth. I suggest you participate in a webinar if you’re interested in it. The next one is tomorrow and there’s one on February 10th as well.


Background

  • They have an organizational commitment to preservation: JSTOR, Portico, and Ithaka S+R
  • Libraries are under pressure to both decrease their print collections and to maintain some print copies for the library community as a whole
  • Individual libraries are often unable to identify materials that are sufficiently well-preserved elsewhere
  • The What to Withdraw framework is for general collections of scholarly journals, not monographs, rare books, newspapers, etc.
  • The report/framework is not meant to replace the local decision-making process

What to Withdraw Framework

  • Why do we need to preserve the print materials once we have a digital version?
    • Fix errors in the digital versions
    • Replace poor quality scans or formats
    • Inadequate preservation of the digital content
    • Unreliable access to the digital content
    • Also, local politics or research needs might require access to or preservation of the print
  • Once they developed the rationales, they created specific preservation goals for each category of preservation and then determined the level of preservation needed for each goal.
    • Importance of images in journals (the digitization standards for text is not the same as for images, particularly color images)
    • Quality of the digitization process
    • Ongoing quality assurance processes to fix errors
    • Reliability of digital access (business model, terms & conditions)
    • Digital preservation
  • Commissioned Candace Yano (operations researcher at UC Berkeley) to develop a model for copies needed to meet preservation goals, with the annual loss rate of 0.1% for a dark archive.
    • As a result, they found they needed only two copies to have a >99% confidence than they will still have remaining copies left in twenty years.
    • As a community, this means we need to be retaining at least two copies, if not more.

Decision-Support Tool (proof of concept)

  • JSTOR is an easy first step because many libraries have this resource and many own print copies of the titles in the collections and Harvard & UC already have dim/dark archives of JSTOR titles
  • The tool provides libraries information to identify titles held by Harvard & UC libraries which also have relatively few images

Future Plans

  • Would like to apply the tool to other digital collections and dark/dim archives, and they are looking for partners in this
  • Would also like to incorporate information from other JSTOR repositories (such as Orbis-Cascade)