my presentation at PTPL

A couple weeks ago I gave a presentation on our ERMS implementation at the annual meeting of the Potomac Technical & Processing Librarians. It was a great honor to be asked to present along with a panel of other librarians talking about their ERMS. It was also the longest I’ve been asked to speak, and while a completely nerve-wracking experience internally, it seemed to have been well-received. If you are interested, my notes and slides are now available on SlideShare.

my presentation for Internet Librarian 2012

Apologies for the delay. It took longer than I expected to have the file and a stable internet connection at the same time. You’ll find the notes on the SlideShare page.

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.

RALC Lightening Round Micro-Conference: Morning Sessions

Andy Morton:  “5-minute madness – The Madness Concept
He’s on the desk at the moment, so he made a video.

Teresa Doherty: “Cool sounds for Aleph Circ Transactions”
Originally presented at ELUNA as a poster session. They use custom sounds and colors to indicate specific circulation transaction alerts, i.e. checkin/checkout alerts. The sounds were selected because they’re short and fairly expressive without being offensive to users who may hear them.

Amanda Hartman: “Reaching Millennials: Understanding and Teaching the Next Generation” 
Those born 1980-1996-ish. These are generalizations, so they don’t describe everyone fully. They’re special and sheltered, team and goal oriented, more likely to be involved in community service, digital natives (mainly mobile tech) but don’t necessarily understand all of the implications or functions, impatient, and multi-taskers. They consider themselves to be relatively savvy searchers, so they may be less likely to ask for help. They have certain expectations about tech that libraries often can’t keep up with. They want learning to be participatory and active, with opportunities to express themselves online, and they have a sense of entitlement – get good grades for hard work, not necessarily for the product of the work. Libraries should have a mobile website. Hire staff that can support tech questions. Provide group workspaces. Explain why, not just how.

Deborah Vroman: “Errors, errors, everywhere! Common citation errors in Literature Resources from Gale”
Until recently, Gale was giving incorrect page ranges for citations for articles reprinted in their collections.  The problem is now fixed by removing the page numbers.

Anna Creech: “Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
Uh, that’s me.

Suzanne Sherry: “Goodreads: I read, you read, everybody READS”
Social networking site for readers. You start off with read, to-read, and currently reading, but you can add other tags that then form collections. Once you’ve read a book, you can rate it and write a review. While you’re reading the book, you can leave comments with updates of your progress. The social element is handy for recommending books to friends and discussing the books you read. There are tools for virtual book clubs and online communities for local book clubs.

Nell Chenault: “Scanning to Save or Send”
They have 12 scanning stations, both Mac and PC, including two slide scanners. Also, they have microform scanners instead of the old light box machines. In the past five years, they’ve seen use increase 325%.

Abiodun Solanke: “Netbooks or Laptops” 
In the last hardware replacement cycle, they replaced circulating laptops with netbooks. Cost, capabilities, and portability were factors considered. Some specialized programs could not be loaded, but there are many desktop computer alternatives. Student reaction appears to be divided along gender – male students thought they were too small, but female students liked them. They did a survey of users borrowing the netbooks, and found that over time the negative comments reduced. They concluded that initial reactions to new things aren’t always indicative of their success. Currently would like to add netbooks with Mac OS.

Darnell Law: “Up In The Air: Text-A-Librarian and Mobile Technologies at Johnston Memorial Library”
Implemented service at the end of the spring semester, so they haven’t seen much use yet. They’re using a service called Text a Librarian. Users enter a specific number and a short code at the beginning of the message. The questions are answered through the service website. The phone numbers are anonymized. Some of the advantages of this service include working with any carrier, not requiring a cell phone to answer the texts, relatively inexpensive (~$1100/yr), answer templates for quick responses, and promotional materials.

usage statistics

The following is an email conversation between myself and the representative of a society publisher who is hosting their journals on their own website. Can I access the useage information for my institution? We subscribe to both the print and online [Journal Name]. Anna Creech Dear Ms. Creech, At the most recent meeting of the … Continue reading “usage statistics”

The following is an email conversation between myself and the representative of a society publisher who is hosting their journals on their own website.


Can I access the useage information for my institution? We subscribe to both the print and online [Journal Name].

Anna Creech


Dear Ms. Creech,

At the most recent meeting of the [Society] Board of Directors, the topic of usage statistics was discussed at length. As I am sure you are aware, usage statistics are a very coarse measure of the use of a web resource. As just one example, there is no particular relationship between the number of downloads of an article and the number of times it is read or the number of times it is cited. An article download could represent anything from glancing at the abstract, to careful reading. Once downloaded, articles can be saved locally, re-read and redistributed to others. Given the lack of any evidence that downloads of professional articles have any relationship to their effective audience size or their value to readers, the Board decided that [Society] will not provide potentially misleading usage statistics. We do periodically publish the overall usage of the [Society] website, about 10 million hits per year.

Regards,

[Name Removed]
[Society] Web Editor


Dear Mr. [Name Removed],

Your Board of Directors are certainly a group of mavericks in this case. Whether they think the data is valuable or not, libraries around the world use it to aid in collection development decisions. Without usage data, we have no idea if an online resource is being used by our faculty and students, which makes it an easy target for cancellation in budget crunch times. I suggest they re-think this decision, for their own sakes.

We all know that use statistics do not fully represent the way an online journal is used by researchers, but that does not mean they are without value. No librarian would ever make decisions base on usage data alone, but it does contribute valuable information to the collection development process.

Hits on a website mean even less than article downloads. Our library website gets millions of hits just from being the home page for all of the browsers in the building. I would never use website hits to make any sort of a decision about an online resource.

Provide the statistics using the COUNTER standard and let the professionals (i.e. librarians) decide if they are misleading.

Anna Creech


UPDATE: The conversation continues….


Dear Ms. Creech,

Curiously, the providers of usage statistics are primarily commercial publishing houses. Few science societies that publish research journals are providing download statistics. In part, this is a matter of resources that the publisher can dedicate to providing statistics-on-demand: commercial publishing houses have the advantage of an economy of scale. They are also happy to provide COUNTER-compliant statistics in part because they are relatively immune to journal cancellation, as a result of mandatory journal bundling.

In any event, after careful consideration and lengthy discussion with a librarian-consultant, the Board concluded that usage statistics are easy to acquire and tempting to use, but are in effect “bad data”. I certainly respect your desire to make the most of a tight library budget, but also respectfully disagree that download statistics are an appropriate tool to make critical judgements about journals. Other methods to learn about the use of a particular journal are available- for example, asking faculty and students to rate the importance of journals to their work, or using impact factors. I am sure you take these into account as well.

I will copy this reply to the [Society] Board so that they are aware of your response. No doubt the Board will revisit the topic of usage statistics in future meetings.

Regards,

[Name Removed]


Dear Mr. [Name Removed],

I never ment to imply that we exclusively use statistics for collection development decisions. We also talk with faculty and students about their needs. However, the numbers are often a good place to begin the discussions. As in, “I see that no one has downloaded any articles from this journal in the past year. Are you still finding it relevant to your research?” Even prior to online subscriptions, librarians have looked at re-shelve counts and the layer of dust on the tops of materials as indicators that a conversation is warranted.

I suggest your Board take a look at the American Chemical Society. They provide COUNTER statistics and are doing quite well despite the “bad data.”

Anna Creech

interruption – gorman & ala

I promise to get back to writing up my thoughts on the NASIG conference. It’s been a busy two weeks. As you can see, I ran out of what I had written while at the airport and I haven’t had the energy or time to get back to it. Meanwhile, I read Karen’s thoughts on … Continue reading “interruption – gorman & ala”

I promise to get back to writing up my thoughts on the NASIG conference. It’s been a busy two weeks. As you can see, I ran out of what I had written while at the airport and I haven’t had the energy or time to get back to it.

Meanwhile, I read Karen’s thoughts on the latest Gormangate episode, and they became the final tipping point in a decision I’ve been trying to make. As a result, I bring you my open letter to ALA, which I also sent to them by email this afternoon:

Dear ALA,

Some years ago, I let my membership lapse because my income and expenses were such that I couldn’t afford to continue it. Since that time, I have found myself in a better paying job and I have been thinking about re-joining the association. However, I have been unimpressed by president-elect Michael Gorman and the anti-technology, anti-progress statements he has been making publicly in the past several months (re: bloggers, Google Print, etc.). Since he is the future leader of the association, I have to wonder if ALA is right for me.

I have concluded that if the majority of members would choose a leader who prefers the past to the present, much less the future of librarianship, then it’s not an organization that I need to be a part of. For now, I will participate professionally in other areas of librarianship, and perhaps reconsider membership in the ALA sometime after Gorman’s tenure.

Respectfully,
Anna Creech