three weeks later – take-aways from ER&L 2014

Twitter glitter #erl14

With barely a half a day to catch my breath, I jumped from ER&L into the complexities of gender issues in the workplace where libraries and technology intersect via the LTG Summit. As a result, it’s taken me some time to go back over my notes from ER&L and pull out the things that are most poignant, or themes that kept resurfacing.

ebooks
Ebooks in a library setting are still pretty much a pain in the ass. Some sources are doing better about DRM and functionality, but the aggregators are still offering less than optimal solutions. Let’s not even mention ILL rights.

One thing that really struck me was how we all keep thinking the Sciences will be all over this ebook thing, since they took to ejournals like white on rice. However, we’ve managed to forget that the Sciences weren’t all that into print books compared to their love affair with print journals, so that’s not going to change much in the shift in format.

On the other hand, Social Sciences are gravitating towards ebooks pretty well. They’re more willing than the other disciplines to use the relatively crappy versions on aggregator platforms, per some research being done on eBrary and EBL usage over the past few years.

workflows
We’re still trying to figure out how to incorporate the quirks of eresources into our workflow models that were developed in the offline age of print. Division by format works only if the formats remain divided, but print and electronic comes bundled often, and sometimes it’s hard to tell if it’s a book or a serial.

Larger institutions are doing a lot of work on reorganizing and retraining, some better than others. I’m still not sure how to handle this in my Acquisitions team of four, with Cataloging in a different division. Communication seems to be key, along with acting as a telephone switch, redirecting requests to the proper individual.

NASIG 2013: From Print to Online — Revamping Technical Services with Distributed and Centralized Workflow Models

“5D” by Mark Sebastian

Speaker: Kari Schmidt, American University

Began in 2008 after a new director and consultant group came in and recommended a reorganization. They had some trouble deciding which larger group electronic resource management should be a part of, and ended up on Information Delivery Services, which includes Acquisitions, Cataloging, and Access Services. The ERM unit used to include acquisitions, cataloging, and a service point. By moving the cataloging functions out (and closing the service point), the group could then focus on access and discovery systems (eresource management, licensing). During the same time, they also moved a huge chunk of bound journal volumes to storage to create student spaces.

Focused on moving away from redundancy across different systems, and moving towards cloud-based unified knowledgebases that populated all user interfaces.

Most serials are now electronic, and they are increasingly being tasked to acquire new forms of eresources. Needed to change some workflow models to incorporate ebook acquisitions and management, for example. They are now starting to work more with Acquisitions and Cataloging for those workflows. Large data sets will be the next challenge.

Focusing more on discovery access and assessment, which had been on the back burner. This requires shifting more of the workflow out of the unit.

Training and skill building in ERM techniques include: ERM “class” to orient to role in the library, trouble-shooting access issues, e-resource forums for other tech services staff taught by members of the ERM unit, vendor training sessions, cross-training within the unit, annual evaluation of responsibilities to determine what could be delegated to a specialist (make sure they are interested in it and it is appropriate for them to do), project prioritization, and relevant committee service.

Cataloging has been overwhelmed with legacy print projects, so incorporating ERM work has been challenging. Acquisitions staffing has been disproportionately weighted towards print, so moving more of the ebook process in is a solution and a challenge. Training circ/service point staff to handle basic questions about eresource access issues.

They are using CORAL resources module for tracking ebook workflows.

[Would really like to have a session like this focus on examples more than challenges and things they still need to do. I want to know job descriptions/responsibilities and examples of workflows for different resources.]

 

Speaker: Christine Korytnyk Dulaney, American University

Staff didn’t talk to each other about work, so they had to make some changes in communication and give them a broader view of the workflow (i.e. how each thing impacted another). They used some project management techniques to begin this process, and it helped them finish the project where they have a history of not doing so. The fundamental concepts of PM can be scaled down to any kind of project. [The presenter goes into this, but you probably have lots of books in your library that covers it.] One advantage of PM is that it focuses on the work and diffuses the emotion that can come from making changes.

ER&L: Individual eJournal Subscriptions — some assembly required

Speakers: Kate Silton, Ann Rasmussen, & Quinghua Xu

Ideally, one begins a subscription to an ejournal, the publisher turns on access, and then you set up the linking. However, that doesn’t always go so smoothly for single titles or small publishers.

Just because you have a tool doesn’t mean you should use it. For activating single titles, she recommends a combination of your subscription agent reports and Excel for filling in the gaps.

When the next step in the workflow requires a response from someone else, setting up reminder triggers, either for yourself or for the other, ensures that it won’t get forgotten.

ERMes is a free alternative to commercial ERMS. It has some limitations, but it can be used to generate collection development reports.

Assume nothing. Document everything. Check in periodically.

my presentation for Internet Librarian 2010

I’ve uploaded my presentation to SlideShare and will be sending it to the ITI folks shortly. Check the speaker notes for the actual content, as the slides are more for visualization.