#ERcamp13 at George Washington University

“The law of two feet” by Deb Schultz

This is going to be long and not my usual style of conference notetaking. Because this was an unconference, there really wasn’t much in the way of prepared presentations, except for the lightening talks in the morning. What follows below the jump is what I captured from the conversations, often simply questions posed that were left open for anyone to answer, or at least consider.

Some of the good aspects of the unconference style was the free-form nature of the discussions. We generally stayed on topic, but even when we didn’t, it was about a relevant or important thing that lead to the tangents, so there were still plenty of things to take away. However, this format also requires someone present who is prepared to seed the conversation if it lulls or dies and no one steps in to start a new topic.

Also, if a session is designed to be a conversation around a topic, it will fall flat if it becomes all about one person or the quirks of their own institution. I had to work pretty hard on that one during the session I led, particularly when it seemed that the problem I was hoping to discuss wasn’t an issue for several of the folks present because of how they handle the workflow.

Some of the best conversations I had were during the gathering/breakfast time as well as lunch, lending even more to the unconference ethos of learning from each other as peers.

Anyway, here are my notes.

Lightening Sessions

Guerilla/Shared Usability Tasks (Clara)

  • To bypass IRB, they did guerilla testing. They went to their student commons area with cookies and had them try out the website on the spot.
  • Most of the folks in the room have only done traditional interview/screen capture studies (Moray, Camtasia).
  • Summon – can students complete tasks using it?
  • Incentives: food, flash drive
  • Have student workers do it as a part of their work time to avoid needing incentives
  • Testing to avoid the “I think” syndrome among the staff. Give students options and determine which one worked best for them.

ERM & Extended Mind (Lenore)

  • Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin?
  • Lots of heady theory stuff and examples specific to her entirely distance/online student body.

ERM Renewals Workflow (Lynn)

  • SerialsSolutions renewals module usage – someone is doing this! Yes!
  • Needed to codify the stages of the different types of renewals and make it so that anyone could see where it was in the process.
  • Renewal notes used to flag exceptions or information routing.
  • Tasks labeled and associated based on the type of renewal. Name/date in the notes field when it is completed.

Preparing Perpetual Access Holdings Data w/ Perl (Viral)

  • Really quirky ejournal holdings, some local, some from consortia.
  • Holdings data provided in unparsable formats.
  • Needed to find gaps, so wrote a script to find them and note them, and then merge the different contract title lists to show full coverage.

Ebook Workflows (Kari)

  • Workflows in eresource management doesn’t work very well for ebooks, particularly for firm orders.
  • Sat down and thought out all of the workflows for the different types of ebook acquisitions & cataloging; mapped out a visualization.
  • Need better/different tools to deal with these – using CORAL to do this.
  • Still need more efficiency and reduction in redundancy.
  • Anyone doing this better?
  • Acq & Cat are generally separate, but an eresources team connects the two and helps with communication and quirky workflows.
  • Initial setup vs. maintenance support from the publisher will vary depending on where they come from.

Google Analytics Events (Eric)

  • Uses this to track click-throughs of open access collections and other resources to determine which ones are most/least valuable to his users.
  • Uses jquery to set up tracking for clicks on any links in their databases list (by the class wrapped around the list).
  • Scrapes the name of the resource from the URL because they are using Drupal with a standard naming convention for each resource.
  • Records whether the databases is one the librarians have highlighted or not.
  • Records which section (subject collection) it is in.

Repurposing Metadata to Promote and Develop the Collection (Viral)

  • WRLC posts a text file each month of the new books that are acquired. He was supposed to go through it and find the titles of interest to his faculty.
  • File is sorted by author, but it has the LC number and location, as well as the bib record identifier.
  • Wrote a script to reformat and group by LC subject area with a count of titles and subdivisions.
  • Also used the bib record identifier to build a link to the MARC record.
  • Sends the reformatted list to the appropriate faculty.


Front-end ERM: presenting resources in an intuitive, understandable manner

  • LMS could be a portal for electronic resources, but would require librarians to have access to the courses to add those resources to them.
    • How do you get buy-in from the faculty for this?
      • Departmental decisions
      • Just do it – every page in Moodle can have a widget for the library that doesn’t require access on the instructor level.
  • Marketing team for the library that includes eresources. Discovery search box on the main page, separate list of databases, and integrated into the LMS (Sakai).
  • Bento box search results from the different silos.
    • Not sure how to do a database recommender. Maybe pull in data from LibGuides?
    • How deep will the data be pulled out?
    • Are the users comfortable with getting that much information all at once? So many choices!
  • How do you tell users how many SU you have? Particularly for ebooks used as class textbooks.
    • Add the info in the 856.
    • Faculty seem to have trouble with 1 book 1 user as a concept.
    • Pushing open access books (particularly textbooks) for class readings (mainly in STEM).
  • How do we ensure that the information is there at the point of need?
    • Chat widgets in the databases.
    • Make the access to librarians universal – points of need, not a point of need.
    • Remote access to user computers.
  • Pimped Marie Kennedy’s research databases page policy (and her blog).
  • Dissolved into venting frustrations with vendor-supplied usage data.

Storing contact and admin/stats URL data? Spreadsheets or database?

  • Created an Access database on a shared drive to store admin information, statistical information, OpenURL or branding information, etc. Anything they needed to know where they put it.
  • ERMES – similar to a home-grown system
  • LastPass can store and share login information
  • CRM type data capture of vendor interactions?

Managing Usage Statistics

  • Historically, had only collected on a case by case basis. New director and a threat of budget cuts determined the need to get stats for everything (mainly journals).
  • Do you collect manually or automate? Monthly or less frequently?
  • LoC is trying to put a requirement for COUNTER in their contracts.

Ebook Acq Workflow

  • Email alias that is distributed to all involved for notices from publishers.
  • Noting whether or not MARC will be supplied within the order record.
  • Paper order form for each ebook (only for one-offs) that is passed along to each touch point.
  • What do you do with an ebook that is delivered in PDF (or other format) via email?
    • Hosted on local server & linked from catalog?
    • Ereserves
  • What do you do with media content that is licensed to be streamed but has to live on your servers?
    • NJvid handles this for one library
    • Converts files to whatever you need them to be
    • Had to have documentation that the library was licensed to do that.
  • How are ebooks presented to users?
    • A-Z database list? Catalog record?
  • Anyone with DDA programs and how is that going?

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