NASIG Annual 2023

a white woman grins at the camera wearing a shirt that reads, "how can you not be pedantic about baseball?"; she is surrounded by a crowd of people watching a baseball game

“How can you not be pedantic about baseball?” –Effectively Wild

Last week was the 38th annual conference for NASIG. It was held in Pittsburgh, PA, at the same location where we met for our 34th annual. There was a smaller crowd, but as you can see above, this time we were able to attend a baseball game at PNC Park.

I’ve been a member of NASIG my whole career, attending every conference since 2002. But, just in case you are new here, or maybe need a refresher, “NASIG is an independent, non-profit organization working to advance and transform the management of information resources. [The] ultimate goal is to facilitate and improve the distribution, acquisition, and long-term accessibility of information resources in all formats and business models.”

In years past, I often took meticulous, almost transcription level notes of conferences sessions to share here. I fell out of practice with that even before the pandemic, but that certainly didn’t help. One great thing about NASIG is that all of the sessions will be included in the Proceedings, which are now Open Access and will be available in the next year.

I took quite a few offline notes for myself — a practice I’ve been trying to adopt for all work meetings now that my memory recall is declining while the number of candles on my birthday cake increases. I want to share a few highlights of things that I found valuable, and maybe you will, too.

Licensing stuff

We implemented Alma in June 2020, and until April 2022, I was attempting to handle all Acquisitions and Electronic Resources functions. I had no time for things that seemed pointless, and the license module was top of that list. There were so few default fields and I didn’t have the understanding to even look for the documentation that might have alerted me to how I could choose other (more useful) fields to be used. However, an off-hand comment at the Alma tech services user group on day one of the conference got me digging, and now I have plans to work with our Electronic Resources Librarian to flesh out the license information stored in Alma.

On day two of the conference, I attended the licensing workshop led by Claire Dygert. I was thrilled to have this opportunity, as Claire is one of my favorite NASIG people over the years, and she’s done a lot of great work in the areas of licensing and negotiation. Two things I’m taking away from it is plans to develop a template of terms we definitely want included in our license agreements, and a workflow for requesting price quotes well in advance of renewals as the opener for negotiations from a principled perspective.

Collections stuff

One of the sessions I attended on the third day of the conference was about documenting post-cancellation access to journals. My current institution has canceled relatively few journal subscriptions over the years, and I have not had a particularly thorough workflow for this. One big revelation for me was the order history tab in EBSCOnet, which I’m quite certain I’d never looked at before. No more guessing when our online subscription began based on the fund code we used (which is sometimes inconsistent)!

(I have not been great at documentation in the past, but due to the aforementioned loss of memory recall at the level I used to have, I’m working on that. I also attended part of a session about documentation in general that I peaced out on early when the first presenter was getting too much in the weeds of their particular situation. I heard the second presenter had more concrete workflows/ideas, so I look forward to reading that in the proceedings.)

My next steps will be to develop a workflow and documentation for recording this information in Alma. Possibly in conjunction with the license project I noted before.

ER&L 2014 — Building the Eresources Team: the MIT Libraries Experience

“DC Hero Minifigs (most of them)” by Julian Fong

Speaker: Kim Maxwell

Goal is to be more of a dialogue than a monologue.

In 2011, they were a traditional acquisitions and cataloging department. They had 18.1 FTE in technical services, with 8 acquisitions people working on both print and electronic, and 5 in cataloging. It felt very fragmented.

They were getting more eresources but no new staff. Less print, but staff weren’t interchangeable. The hybrid positions weren’t working well, and print was still seen as a priority by some of the staff. They could see the backlogs and made it seem like they had to deal with them first.

They hired consultants and decided to create two format-based teams: tangible formats and electronic resources. They defined the new positions and asked staff for their preferences, and then assigned staff to one team or the other. The team leads are focused on cataloging side and acquisition side, rather than by format.

To implement this they: oriented and trained staff; created workflow teams for ejournals, ebooks, and databases; talked with staff extensively; tried to be as transparent as possible; and hired another librarian.

They increased the FTE working on eresources, and they could use more, but this is good enough for now.

Some of the challenges include: staff buy-in and morale; communicating who does what to all the points of contact; workflows for orders with dual formats; budget structure (monographs/serials, with some simplification where possible, but still not tangible/electronic); and documentation organization (documenting isn’t a problem — find it is).

The benefits are: staff focusing on a single format; bringing acquisitions and cataloging together (better communication between functions); easier cross-training opportunities; workflows streamlined easier; and ease in planning and priorities.

NASIG 2011: Managing Ebook Acquisition — the Coordination of “P” and “E” Publication Dates

Speaker: Sarah Forzetting & Gabrielle Wiersma

They are sending bib records to their book supplier weekly in order to eliminate duplication of format and other ebook packages. This might be helpful for libraries that purchase ebooks through publisher platforms in addition to through their vendor.

One of the challenges of ebook acquisition is that publishers are delaying publication or embargoing access on aggregators in order to support the print book sales. Fortunately the delay between print and ebook publication is diminishing — the average delay has gone down from 185 days to 21 since 2008.

For certain profiles in the approval plan, Coutts will set aside books that match for a certain period of time until the ebook is available. If the ebook is not available in that time, they will ship the print. If the librarian does not want to wait for the ebook, they can stop the wait process and move forward with the print purchase right away.

Part of the profile setup for e-preferred or print-preferred not only includes the subject areas, but also content type. For example, some reference works are more useful in electronic format.

Oh, my! They have their PDA set up so that two uses trigger a purchase. I should find out what constitutes a use.

NASIG 2009: Moving Mountains of Cost Data

Standards for ILS to ERMS to Vendors and Back

Presenter: Dani Roach

Acronyms you need to know for this presentation: National Information Standards Organization (NISO), Cost of Resource Exchange (CORE), and Draft Standard For Trial Use (DSFTU).

CORE was started by Ed Riding from SirsiDynix, Jeff Aipperspach from Serials Solutions, and Ted Koppel from Ex Libris (and now Auto-Graphics). The saw a need to be able to transfer acquisitions data between systems, so they began working on it. After talking with various related parties, they approached NISO in 2008. Once they realized the scope, it went from being just an ILS to ERMS transfer to also including data from your vendors, agents, consortia, etc, but without duplicating existing standards.

Library input is critical in defining the use cases and the data exchange scenarios. There was also a need for a data dictionary and XML schema in order to make sure everyone involved understood each other. The end result is the NISO CORE DSFTU Z39.95-200x.

CORE could be awesome, but in the mean time, we need a solution. Roach has a few suggestions for what we can do.

Your ILS has a pile of data fields. Your ERMS has a pile of data fields. They don’t exactly overlap. Roach focused on only eight of the elements: title, match point (code), record order number, vendor, fund, what paid for, amount paid, and something else she can’t remember right now.

She developed Access tables with output from her ILS and templates from her ERMS. She then ran a query to match them up and then upload the acquisitions data to her ERMS.

For the database record match, she chose the Serials Solutions three letter database code, which was then put into an unused variable MARC field. For the journals, she used the SSID from the MARC records Serials Solutions supplies to them.

Things that you need to decide in advance: How do you handle multiple payments in a single fiscal year (What are you doing currently? Do you need to continue doing it?)? What about resources that share costs? How will you handle one-time vs. ongoing purchase? How will you maintain the integrity of the match point you’ve chosen?

The main thing to keep in mind is that you need to document your decisions and processes, particularly for when systems change and CORE or some other standard becomes a reality.