Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Keeping E-Books Current - Charleston Report Part 5

Most of the sessions I attended were those that I knew we are going to implement or undertake in the next few months. One of them is of course, weeding. This session hit home immediately because of our Netlibrary collection weeding project that was started last summer. This session is meant to be a "dialog" session with heads of collection from Texas A & M University, Ken Breen (Senior Ditector of e-book Products at EBSCO) and Matt Barnes (Vice-President of Marketing at ebrary).

They talk about the problem of ebooks that have outdated or superceded information and what we need to do to make them current. There are a few questions posed to the attendees and was the starting point for our dialogue:

Who is responsible for weeding ebooks?

Removing the titles from the library catalog is a pain (but doable), however, how do you removed those that are part of a shared collection such as consortium?

Who is responsible for weeding a shared collection?

How would libraries like to identify ebooks for weeding?

How can a library control access if it removed a title from the catalog but the item is still available in the vendor's database?

Why would you want to permanently delete an item?

What situation would work best for the library?

I spoke to the group about our dilemma with our Netlibrary records. I told Ken since they now own Netlibrary that it would be good if after we deleted the items in our catalog, they can in turn have a switch that can turn off visibility of these deleted records from our students. He said they have not thought about weeding when they moved the platform but now since there is a need for that, they would work towards that functionality.

We also heard from the research libraries' perspective, since they don't ever weed anything from their collection. They want to be able to identify those ebooks that they want weeded but still make it accessible for their faculty or researchers. They want to move these ebooks to a repository much like an online off-site storage so they can be accessed again. Again, these vendors have no way of doing this yet. Apparently, they were so caught up with producing books in electronic form, marketing them to libraries but neglecting the fact that one day some of them would have to be weeded.

In the end, the dialogue produced some lessons and recommendations, in particular:

Libraries mus evaluate their ebook collections regularly (especially if it is purchased)

Libraries mus work together to create best practices for evaluating and weeding ebook collections.

Librarians and vendors must work together to create workflow that is efficient for both.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Charleston Conference Report Part 4

Today was another busy and jam-packed day full of keynote speeches, sessions, and lively discussions to attend. The morning started with a keynote speech from the legal counsels at U of M, Stanford University and another lawyer specializing in competition and copyright for libraries. The title of their presentation was "The Long Arm of the Law." It's basically a crash course on copyright, fair use especially in this digital age. They also brought us up-to-date with the leading developments in cases such as Skyriver versus OCLC, Google Books settlement, Georgia State University case against their e-reserves, John Wiley's case against first sale and FTC investigation on Google.

I also attended the lively lunch discussion about the results of ebrary's and Cleveland State University's "Global E-book Survey." It basically compares the 2008 and 2011 trends and perceptions on ebooks by students. We got a sneek peak into the results which would be made public on the ALA Midwinter meeting in January 2012. I plan on presenting the results of the survey to the library staff possibly during our Department meeting because I think the results will give us an insight into students' perceptions and attitudes towards ebooks.

I attended the session called "If You Buy It, Will They Read It" which is about the experience of the University of Utah Libraries in evaluating the purchasing patterns of their subject librarians. In particular, they examined the firm orders made by their selectors over 3 years (2009-2011) and compared the use statistics of the books they selected in print and electronic formats. The patterns they discovered provided me with an inspiration to go beyond the review I have started and drill more into the specifics by subjects.

I also attended the session called "Launching and ePreferred Approval Plan" which is a joint presentation by the Head of Collections and Acquisitions at Duke University and YBP. Duke University librarians talked about how they implemented an e-book only approval plan from their print approval plan at YBP. They talked about the challenges and success they achieved from implementing such a plan. I was already thinking of this anyway with my recent meeting with YBP and it just gave me the pus to try and pilot it in the Library.

Lastly, I attended a presentation from Doug Way and Julie Garrison from GVSU and Rick Lugg from Sutainable Collection Services about "Implementing a Disapproval Plan: A Case Study of Rules-Based Weeding." This is so interesting because this company is the first to develop a data driven deselection system for libraries. It is pretty much like an approval plan where you set the parameters for acquiring new books except it is the opposite because they created a set of rules for weeding their collection "scientifically." It is very inspiring and revolutionary, one that I hope to be able to do when we do our weeding next year.

Finally, we capped the day with the Firday night dine arounds. We RSVP'd way in advance for restaurants we want to go to dinner. And then the organizers put all those people who chose the same restaurants so we can have dinner together. Our group was a diverse mix of people and it was fun to just talk to each other and at the same time enjoy the good food that we were served.

Charleston Conference Report Part 3

Thursday was the start of the conference and our day started at 7 am for breakfast. The opening ceremonies started at 8:00 am. Keynote speech was at 8:15 am with Michael Keller, University Librarian of Stanford University as one of the speakers. By the way, Charleston Conference organizers appoint a moderator who among his other duties is to watch the time so that the speakers do not go over their allotted 45 minutes of talk. Even the notoriously naughty speakers who go on and on tow the line. Hmmm, we should have that here at LCC (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

Keller’s talk was about the “Semantic Web for Libraries and Publishers.” In this thought-provoking speech, he mentioned that there’s just way too many silos of information out there. The landscape of discovery and access is in shambles. Search results from Google offer little precision and offers a lot of ambiguity. This is what he refers to as the dark world of the web. He talks about the efforts at Stanford to build a web of data called the semantic web. His talk was followed by MacKenzie Smith, Research Director from MIT Libraries. She talked about “Data Papers in the Network Era.” It was way over my head but it is interesting to learn developments on this front especially from this top universities.

I don’t have the time to write a summary of each of the sessions I’ve attended since I’m going to head down to a session in a bit, but I thought I’d list them out here (this is only for yesterday, Thursday):

Let’s Get the Dialog Started: Keeping E-Books Current (speakers from EBSCO, ebrary, EBL, Texas A&M University)

Electronic Resource Assessment: Adventures in Engagement (speakers from Columbia University Library)

The Role of Reference in Discovery Systems: Effecting a More Literate Search (speakers from GVSU, Georgetown University, Credo Reference)
Is there a Future for the Collection Development Policy (speakers from University of South Florida, Tampa)

In the evening we head out for the grand Charleston Conference reception (from 7 to 9 pm) held at the College of Charleston gardens. It was yet again a chance to experience Southern hospitality at its best and get to meet more librarians. It was a fitting end to an otherwise long day.

Charleston Conference Report Part 2

The conference started on Wednesday with preconferences and vendor showcases. I arrived in the afternoon so immediately after I went to the vendor exhibits. This is the only conference where vendors and publishers are only allowed to exhibit on the 1st day of the conference for about 7 hours. The idea is that these vendors are participants too in the conference and as such they should not be just standing by in their booths pitching their products and services. Also it allows the librarians to focus on the vendors they want to meet and not be distracted when the conference starts. I got to meet with my regular contacts from YBP, EBSCO. I met with the Gale folks, Proquest, CRCnetbase, Credo Reference and many more.

I got to attend the “Showdown at the Charleston Conference.” This is an annual tradition wherein vendors face each other much like a showdown in the OK coral so that they have a no-holds barred product faceoff. It aims to have an honest exchange between competing products in the library marketplace to get beyond the usual sales pitch, and explore the issues that concerns us and our libraries. For this showdown, they focused on ebooks and usage statistics. Three ebook vendors EBL, ebrary and EBSCO had a showdown (since this is a showdown, the Presidents and VPs of each company face off). For the usage statistics, PaperStats from Pubget face off with ScholarlyStats from SWETS. It was fun to see how all these vendors try to outdo each other mch like saying “I’m better than you so take that!” all to the amusement of the attendees.

In the evening, I attended the YBP/ebrary cocktails. I roomed-in with my friend Fran Krempasky, head of acquisitions from Cooley Law School. In there we met with the MI delegation from MSU, WSU, GVSU and U of M. I got to meet and talk to my counterparts from Yale University, U of Chicago, Columbia University, and many more. It is shocking to hear their stories especially those that involve layoffs. Over drinks (open bar but I didn’t drink though and confined myself to a harmless pineapple, cranberry cocktail) and Southern food like crab cakes and fried green tomatoes we chatted and laughed the night away.

Charleston Conference Report Part 1

Before anything else, I’m going to categorically say that this conference is the best conference I have ever attended in my career as a librarian. It has lived up to the hype that my librarian friends have repeatedly told me ever since I assumed this position at LCC. They all told me “You better attend the Charleston Conference even if you have to take out a 2nd mortgage.” Why so? Well, this is the only conference where a librarian in charge of collection development and management, acquisitions, and serials in academic libraries get to converge, discuss, and network with each other. Add to that is the fact that vendors and publishers—CEOs, Presidents listen to us and demand that we tell them what we want about their products so that they can make it better. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they feed all the participants breakfast, lunch and dinner and coffee in between.

Anyway, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about the history of the Charleston Conference. In 1989, a group of acquisitions librarians (actually, they were only 2 of them), in Charleston got together led by Katina Stauch because they felt at that time that the needs of the “back-end” part of the library are not being met by ALA or any library conference out there. The next year, they had the 1st Charleston conference attended only by 20 librarians. Now 31 years later, it has since grown into a conference attended by 1,458 librarians and over 40 vendors and publishers.

In my next post, I’ll let you in on the sessions I've attended.