NASIG 2011: Books in Chains

Speaker: Paul Duguid

Unlike the automotive brand wars, tech brand wars still require a level of coordination and connectivity between each other. Intel, Windows, and Dell can all be in one machine, and it became a competition as to which part motivated the purchase.

The computer/tech supply chain is odd. The most important and difficult component to replace is the hard drive, and yet most of us don’t know who makes the drives in our computers. It makes a huge difference in profit when your name is out front.

Until the mid 1800s, the wine sold had the retailer name on it, not the vineyard. Eventually, that shifted, and then shifted again to being sold by the name of the varietal.

In the book supply chain, there are many links, and the reader who buys the book may not see any of the names involved, and at different times in history, the links were the brand that sold it. Mark Twain and Rudyard Kipling tried to trademark their names so that publishers could not abuse them.

In academia, degrees are an indication of competency, and the institution behind the degree is a part of the brand. Certification marks began with unions in the US, and business schools were among the first to go out and register their names. However, it gets tricky when the institution conferring the degrees is also taking in fees from students. Is it certification or simply selling the credentials?

Who brands in publishing? We think the author, but outside of fiction, that starts to break down. Reference works are generally branded by the publisher. Reprint series are branded by the series. Romances are similar. Do we pay attention to who wrote the movie, TV series, or even newspaper article?

What happens when we go digital? The idealist’s view is that information wants to be free. The pragmatic view is that information needs to be constrained. Many things that are constraints are also resources. The structure and organization of a newspaper has much to do with the paper it is on. Also, by limiting to what fits on the paper, it conveys an indication of importance if it makes it into print. Free information suffers from a lack of filters to make the important bits rise to the top.

We think of technologies replacing each other, but in fact they tend to create new niches by taking away some but not all of the roles of the old tech. What goes and what stays is what you see as integral.

NASIG 2008: Using Institutional and Library Identifiers to Ensure Access to Electronic Resources

Presenters: Helen Henderson, Don Hamparian, and John Shaw

One of the perpetual problems with online access to journals is that often, something breaks down on the supply chain, and the library discovers that access has disappeared. The presenters seek to offer ideas for preventing this from happening.

Henderson showed a list of 15 transactions that take place in acquiring and maintaining a subscription to a single title. There are plenty of places for a breakdown. Name changes, agent changes, publisher changes, hosting platform changes, price changes, bundle changes, licensing changes, authentication changes, etc.

OCLC’s WorldCat Registry maintains institutional information for libraries, which is populated and augmented by libraries and partners. Libraries can use it to register their OpenURL resolvers, IP addresses, and to share the profile with selected organizations. OCLC uses it to configure WorldCat Local, among other things. Vendors use it as an OpenURL gateway service and to verify customer data.

Ringgold’s Identify database and services normalizes institutional information for publishers. It includes consortia membership information and the Anglicized name, as well as many of the data elements in OCLC’s registry. Rather than OCLC symbol, they have an identifying number for each institution.

Potential interactions between the two identifiers includes a maping between them. The two directories do not have as much overlapping information as you might think.

Standards and identifiers are becoming even more important to the supply chain with the transition to electronic publication. Publishers need clean records in order to provide holdings lists to libraries and OpenURL resolvers, among other things. Publishers use services like WorldCat Registry and Identify to improve their data, service, and cost-savings that gets passed on to subscribers.

ICEDIS is a standard for the exchange of data between publishers and agents. It is old and has been implemented differently. They are hoping to develop an XML version by 2010, which will include the institutional identifier. ONIX is working on developing automatic holdings reports that will be fed into ERMS.

Project TRANSFER will create a way to exchange subscription information using a unique identifier. KBART is another initiative looking at a portion of the solution. I² (part of NISO) is looking at standardizing metadata using identifiers, beyond just for library resources. CORE is a project in the vendor community working on communicating between the ILS and the ERMS.

Standards will help ease the pain of price agreement between publishers and agents, customer identification, consortia membership and entitlements, and many of the other things that cause the supply chain to break down.

Libraries should include their identifier numbers in orders. The subscription agents are too overwhelmed to implement the kind of change that would require them to look up and add this to every record. Ringgold & OCLC are in communication with NISO to create a standard that is not proprietary.