Reports of Meetings — 32nd Annual Charleston Conference
Issues in Book and Serial Acquisition, “Accentuate the Positive,” Francis Marion Hotel, Courtyard Marriott Historic District, Addlestone Library, and School of Science and Mathematics Building, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, November 7-10, 2012
Charleston Conference Reports compiled by: Ramune K. Kubilius (Collection Development / Special Projects Librarian, Northwestern University, Galter Health Sciences Library) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Column Editor’s Note: Thank you to all of the Charleston Conference attendees who agreed to write short reports that highlight sessions they attended at the 2012 conference. All attempts were made to provide a broad coverage of sessions, and notes are included in the reports to reflect known changes in the session titles or presenters highlighting those that were not printed in the conference’s final program (though some may have been reflected in the online program). Please visit the Conference Website for the online conference schedule from which there are links to many presentations, handouts, plenary session videos, and plenary session reports by the 2012 Charleston Conference blogger, Don Hawkins. Visit the conference blog at https://www.against-the-grain.com/category/blog-posts/charleston2012/. The 2012 Charleston Conference Proceedings will be published in partnership with Purdue University Press in 2013. — RKK
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2012
Swimming in a Whirlpool: A Frank Discussion of eBook Programs, Problems, and Possibilities — Presented by Julie Blake (OhioLINK); Nancy Gibbs (Duke University Libraries); Jeanne Harrell (Texas A&M University); October Ivins (Ivins eContent Solutions); Jack Montgomery (Western Kentucky University)
NOTE: Kristin Antelman (Associate Director for the Digital Library, North Carolina State University), joined the panel.
Reported by: Kristen Ribero (ebrary) <email@example.com>
In a pre-conference session that was to cover a direction many libraries are moving toward in the industry, moderator Montgomery provided an introduction and asked a number of notable librarians and professionals to give their own take on moving into the “whirlpool” of eBooks from acquisition models to vendors and publishers and much more. Outside of considering whether to go direct with publisher platforms or through one of the main eBook vendors, most libraries in the presentation use a book vendor like YBP to streamline their workflow with electronic and print books.
Usage is a key component when looking at the world of eBooks, which is unlike the data you can gather from print circulation. Even though the reports can be quite detailed depending on vendor, there are still measurements that are lacking, such as how a book was acquired, turn-aways, and license type. There is still room to grow and details to be figured out, not with just something this granular in eBooks, but in a more general sense from acquisition models to keeping libraries and publishers happy.
Another prominent issue that was discussed both in the presentation and during the Q&A was the importance of selectors in the acquisition process alongside their necessary training. Since libraries are facing resource and budget restraints, many are finding it very difficult to train staff in these means. With the industry moving in a more electronic direction, it requires not only the end-user but also library staff to keep up.
COUNTER at 10: Evolving Measures of Journal Impact, Value, and Utility Venue — Presented by Mayur Amin (Elsevier); Richard Cave (PLoS); Carol Tenopir (University of Tennessee); Hazel Woodward (Information Power); Paul Wouters (University of Leiden) ; Berenika Webster (Thomson Reuters)
NOTE: Ellen Rotenberg (Thomson Reuters) spoke in
place of Berenika Webster.
Reported by: Tony Horava (University of Ottawa) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Tenopir opened this pre-conference, which was an opportunity to re-visit the COUNTER standard for measuring journal use and impact. The COUNTER Code of Practice has been highly successful as a widely-adopted measure of journal and database value, but new forms of metrics and scholarly communications have led to a variety of alternative metrics on measuring author impact and scholarly value of the publication. Wouters asked the question, “What is the scientific and social impact of a researcher’s publications?” Citations can be difficult to assess — they involve different levels of aggregation, they need to allow for normalization across fields, and they need to be transparent in methodology. He explained that altmetrics tools can be interesting but most of them don’t meet these three basic criteria. He noted the need to further develop building blocks of knowledge, e.g., indicators for OA journals based on editorial board or editor citations normalization and use contexts. Woodward focused on the important of usage metrics. She gave an overview of the Usage Factor metric that is currently in development at Project Counter. There are 326 journals from various publishers involved in a pilot. She raised a few key questions, such as: will usage factor be a meaningful measure? Will it be accepted? Will it be robust? And how will it be implemented? The new metric could help to fill a void. Cave from PLoS explained that citations are a small indication of how an article is used. PLoS tracks social Web activity plus traditional citations — this provides a wider portrait of “who” is using the research. PLoS is analyzing the impact of social Web on scholarship (not just articles) — this is hard for standards bodies to utilize since tools are changing quickly. Mayer Amin gave his perspective on journal metrics. He referenced Elsevier’s Project Snowball in the UK (8-9 universities) which seeks to determine which standards are appropriate to apply to their work. He explained that metrics which are easy to understand and more transparent gain popularity and use. He pointed out that we shouldn’t forget about print usage. He also stated that detecting and deterring gaming is important in ensuring the reliability of impact measures. Rotenberg gave us a journey through citation-based metrics, past, present, and future. She discussed issues around the conduct of science; policy context; and evolving technology as key drivers for research. She emphasized that despite the many metrics available today, one still needs to focus on the basics — normalization of data; elimination of bias; data quality; and standards.
This pre-conference was a wide-ranging reflection on the evolution of data measures over the past decade, the present proliferation of measures to choose from, and important factors in assessing the reliability and viability of these measures. The ongoing transformation in the scholarly communications ecosystem, particularly around publication, dissemination, and impact, has led us to rethink the goals and tools of journal measurement, and this pre-conference gave us a timely opportunity to engage with the issues.
ALTMETRICS SESSIONS AT THE
Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012 — Article Level Metrics: Analyzing Value in the Scholarly Content — Presented by Richard Cave (PLoS); William Gunn, (Mendeley); Elizabeth Lorbeer (Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences — University of Alabama at Birmingham); Michael Margotta (Maverick Publishing Specialists); Heather Piwowar (ImpactStory, Duke, and UBC)
Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 — Overview of the Altmetrics Landscape — Presented by Richard Cave (PLoS)
Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 — Empowering Scholars Through Altmetrics — Presented by Peter Binfield (PeerJ); Heather Piwowar (ImpactStory, Duke, and UBC); Michael Taylor (Elsevier Labs); Drew Wright (Cornell University)
Reported by: William Gunn (Mendeley, Inc.)
There were several sessions this year focusing on the concept of altmetrics. Altmetrics are, according to Jason Priem, the person who coined the term, “an alternative to traditional, unidimensional, citation-only approaches.” Altmetrics are of interest to publishers and librarians, in part, because they provide rapid feedback about which content is getting the most interest and how readers are engaging with this content, but also they’re of interest because researchers, wanting to be able to claim credit for all their impact, not just that which shows up via traditional citation analysis, will have their attention directed by these social signals. The first on this topic was “Article-level Metrics: Analyzing the Value in Scholarly Content.” The panel for this session included Cave, IT Director for the Public Library of Science (PLOS), Lorbeer, Librarian at University of Alabama at Birmingham, Piwowar, co-founder of altmetrics startup ImpactStory, and myself as Head of Academic Outreach for Mendeley. This session mostly focused on the subset of altmetrics called article-level metrics (ALMs), which includes things like page views of article pages at PLOS or readership of papers on Mendeley. Cave showed how PLOS gathers ALMs from activity on their site, but also from social signals on the Web, such as tweets or blog posts. This data is then presented to readers for each paper in their catalog, and also made available in machine-readable form through the ALM API. I spoke from my perspective as a researcher about the harm that a unidimensional focus on the Impact Factor does to the scientific process and then characterized the readership data that Mendeley makes available. Piwowar described Impact Story, a service that aggregates altmetrics as well as traditional metrics from the various providers and puts them in context. Finally, Lorbeer discussed practical ways in which libraries could implement these metrics in their discovery and collection management systems. On Friday Cave gave an overview of the altmetrics landscape, giving attendees a look at the various providers and consumers of altmetrics. Cave first discussed the difference between article-level metrics and altmetrics, defining article-level metrics as traditional citation-based metrics as well as altmetrics, aggregated at the article level and altmetrics as “new metrics based on the social Web for analyzing and informing scholarship.” Altmetrics can be aggregated at the author level, at the level of the work (whether or not it’s an article), or at the level of the institution or group responsible for the output. He then went into some detail about four emerging services, PLOS artlcle-level metrics, Altmetric.com, ImpactStory, and Plum Analytics, describing the business model of each and comparing them to the “ideal” in terms of relevance and availability. A key point here was the need for machine-level access so that metrics could be aggregated and correlated not only to assist in developing context but in order to detect gaming of the metrics. It might be possible to artificially inflate download counts, but it would be much harder to simultaneously inflate downloads, tweets, bookmarks, and pageviews. Finally, he suggested some next steps. For librarians, he suggested collecting altmetrics for things like research published by faculty at your institution. For publishers, he suggested tracking article-level metrics for your content and making those metrics available under an open license so that they can be aggregated and put into context with other metrics. The final altmetrics session of the conference was a panel including Binfield, co-founder and publisher of PeerJ, Piwowar, Taylor of Elsevier Labs, and Wright, Research Librarian and Research Services Coordinator at Weill Cornell Medical Library. This session was more end-user focused than the aforementioned ones and, coming at the end of several sessions, this session was able to advance the discussion a little more. The title of the session was “Empowering Scholars with Altmetrics.” How? The panelists suggested that altmetrics helped researchers see the impact of their work faster, it helped them get credit for other kinds of works beyond traditional publications, and it also gave publishers a means to test and experiment with new forms of publishing. A major risk identified by the panel was that the metrics might not be open, which means manipulation or gaming would be harder to detect, and it would also be harder to put the metrics in the context of other indicators, for example, correlating social shares with article pageviews. One would expect the two to be somewhat correlated, and if there’s a significant imbalance in the number of tweets, one could suspect gaming, and likewise one could see a larger number of pageviews without a corresponding increase in citations, but this could also be a reflection of exposure to a non-academic audience. The panelists recommended three specific actions for librarians and publishers interested in empowering scholars this way: embedding the metrics on their catalog/article pages now, teaching scholars about the use of the metrics, and doing research on the metrics to determine more in depth what they are good for.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2012
Our New Job Description — Presented by Annette Thomas (Macmillan)
Reported by: Ramune K. Kubilius (Northwestern University, Galter Health Sciences Library) <email@example.com>
The first plenary of the 2012 conference featured Thomas, who has been at Macmillan almost twenty years in various capacities and in her current position for five. Starting out with a brief history of the company and its anchor journal, Nature, she then made observations about the evolution of publishing, tools, and products, as well as a peek into the “nursery of projects” (fail often and fail quickly — time limit six months) that her company is incubating (expressions she later used in answer to a question). Her points were illustrated based on her experience and career path that took her from the academic world through editorial and executive posts in publishing. Models in the health and social sciences space address the critical questions: what are pain points for scientists, and how can we address them? Scientists need to learn about discoveries, to track them and join in. They need to plan experiments, do them, and share the results. In the end, the role of publishing and libraries is the same — to make scientists more efficient in the richer landscape. One questioner commented that the current publishing trend is towards software, and Thomas argued that this approach is limiting since it is for publishing discovery only, not for full and active participation. It is a technology-led, not a content-led approach.
Integrating Discovery and Access for Scholarly Articles: Successes and Failures — Presented by Anurag
Acharya (Google Scholar)
Reported by: Ramune K. Kubilius (Northwestern University, Galter Health Sciences Library) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In 2010, Jon Orwant, Engineering Manager, Google Books, gave plenary session attendees a peek into technical, “behind-the-curtain” issues (metadata, FRBR rules, disambiguation issues) of that initiative. This year, Acharya, Lead Engineer, Google Scholar, looked at accomplishments and work to be done in a different arena. Calling himself a “lapsed academic,” Acharya espoused the simple idea (perhaps an ideal?) that “everyone must be able to find everything.” Discovery all too often is tied to access and sources, but in the real world, answers and insights are not limited by geographic region, and smartness is not limited to the well-funded. Discovery should be the same for all users. Only if everyone can build on discoveries will the cathedral of science be built. The aim of Google Scholar is to encompass and involve all publishers, large and small, commercial, and society. The speaker described the overall approach, successes, and remaining challenges of Google Scholar since its launch in 2005, specifically regarding access: to subscribed content, archives, in developing countries, and to preprints. Over 4,000 libraries are participating, but in each scenario, there have been successes, mixed with some “mysterious failures,” sometimes in developing countries, small libraries, or consortia. During the question-and-answer session, it appeared that audience members were supportive of the endeavor, especially those who were part of international initiatives helping developing nations. They seemed especially willing to help investigate and improve on those aforementioned “mysterious failures.”
Curating a New World of Publishing — Presented by Mark Coker (Smashwords); Mitchell Davis (BiblioLabs); Eric Hellman (Gluejar, Inc.); Rush Miller (University of Pittsburgh)
NOTE: Mitchell Davis did not present in this plenary session.
Reported by: Audrey Powers (University of South Florida) <email@example.com>
This very informative panel was delivered by representatives from Smashwords, UnGlue.It, and University of Pittsburg Press. The presentation focused on innovative eBook models of publishing. The old model of publishing (where publishers were in business to sell books and authors and readers where shut out of the process) is DEAD! Authors and readers have become predominant players in this new paradigm that challenges the traditional business model of publishers. It is our responsibility as librarians to promote a culture of reading and authorship. Examples were given of how Smashwords and UnGlue.It are breaking down the boundaries of publishing by developing self-serve publishing models that are uniquely funded. Academic publishing, represented by the University of Pittsburgh Press, emphasized the need for research libraries to be involved in the publishing process because academic libraries are the primary entities that provide services to scholars that they will understand, need, and value.
The Changing World of eBooks — Presented by Peter Brantley (Bookserver Project); Mike Shatzkin (The Idea Logical Company)
Reported by: Maureen Beck (Stevenson University, Greenspring Campus Library) <MBeck@stevenson.edu>
Speakers at this informative session discussed the transformation of the eBook. The eBook is now free to embrace new ways of communicating a story using social media tools like Tumblr and Twitter. Brantley (of the Bookserver Project) advocated for the continuance of text-based stories, which are easy to format and present, while incorporating tools for reader engagement. He envisioned rich media experiences that will be, in essence, storytelling Websites. Shatzkin (of the Idea Logical Company) pointed out that getting a return on investment is paramount in publishing. He felt most eBook readers today are not that interested in participating via social media, but value above all the experience of getting lost in a book. The trend toward media development is just a trend. Shatzkin did suggest that including author notes and other enhancements ordinarily discarded during editing might prove profitable. Audience questions involved the potential of media enhancement in specialty publishing like children’s books and the craft market. Additional questions concerned the need for unique identifiers for rapidly multiplying digital objects and the rationality of pricing structures for different book formats.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2012
E-books…. It’s Been 12 Years, Now What? A Panel on Strategic E-book Acquisitions and the Future Thread — Presented by Matt Barnes (ebrary); Kris Baker (YBP); Carole Correa-Morris (San Jose State University); Laura Sill (University of Notre Dame)
NOTE: This was an off-site Lively Lunch that required pre-registration.
Reported by: Caryl Ward (Binghamton University Libraries (SUNY)) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The (new) subtitle (Past, Present and Future: The Evolution of the E-book Industry Over the Last 12 Years and What That Means for the Future), modified by the speakers on their slides, accurately described how the panel reviewed the developments of the eBook at each institution.
The presentations were divided into two-year blocks, with each speaker reporting about advances in delivery, features, platform, and content since 2000. It was interesting to contrast historical developments at YBP, ebrary, and the two academic libraries, but the pertinent portion of the presentation concerned today and the future.
For libraries moving towards increased eBook purchases, the today and future segments offered valuable insight into relevant developments in the electronic library environment. ebrary has expanded its purchasing models, YBP is offering many more services to eBook customers, Notre Dame has embarked on two PDA pilot programs, and San Jose State University has seen its eBook usage jump to two times its print circulation figures. The panel’s forecasts for the future include increased success of PDA plans; the need for greater participation from bibliographers in planning and evaluating eBook purchases; and closer working relationships with vendors and aggregators.
A Real Challenge: Incorporating Patron-Driven Acquisitions Programs into Collection Development Strategies & Budgets — Presented by Steve Carrico (University of Florida); Trey Shelton (University of Florida)
Reported by: Clanitra L. Stewart (MLIS Student, University of South Carolina) <email@example.com>
In this interactive and timely session, Carrico and Shelton, from the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida, shared their thoughts on the benefits and difficulties of implementing and maintaining Patron-Driven Acquisitions (PDA) programs within academic libraries. Since 2006, the Smathers Libraries have implemented three different PDA programs: one focusing on books requested by graduate students and faculty members, one focusing on materials for course reserves, and one joint plan with Florida State University. The success of these programs has led the Smathers Libraries to begin planning for a future PDA program to specifically address the needs of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics students, as well as for a future consortial PDA program that will incorporate efforts from several other schools within the consortium.
Rather than solely providing a lecture on their own experiences, Carrico and Shelton offered attendees the opportunity to share insights from their own efforts to implement similar programs. As might be expected, the most heavily discussed issues concerned implementation methods for PDA programs, the sustainability of PDA programs given budgetary limitations, and the impact that PDA programs may have on the role of the subject librarian. Given the large number of attendees and the lively discussion of issues, it is likely that there will be significant demand for similar sessions in the future.
ALL YOU CAN EAT: Rethinking Textbook Models on University Campuses — Presented by William Kane (Wake Forest University); Rosalind Tedford (Wake Forest University)
NOTE: Rosalind Tedford did not present in this session.
Reported by: Angharad Roberts (Sheffield University) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Kane described some of the long-standing challenges posed by textbooks: they are unpopular with students because of lack of availability and unpredictable costs, whilst faculty regard them as essential.
Previous approaches to dealing with this issue at Wake Forest have included:
• two-hour use course reserves;
• electronic copies;
• course packs (which are also costly);
• custom publishing.
Kane suggested that “the only solution” is an “Unlimited Course Materials Subsidy” — an opt-in program, comparable to a meal plan, where $500 per semester ensures free-of-charge access to course materials from the campus bookstore. Kane outlined how this might work in practice for different groups of students. This was presented as a quadruple win — for faculty, students, campus bookstores, and for the university.
Discussion centered on the issues which have led to textbooks being generally excluded from the library materials budget, together with the possible alternative approach of encouraging faculty to move away from relying on these types of resources. One comment suggested that, although in the past libraries could not afford to buy sufficient multiple copies of textbooks, as e-delivery makes multi-user access more feasible perhaps the library should be using some of its core budget on these materials.
Alumni Use of Electronic Resources — Presented by Claire Fund (College of Charleston); Esther Onega (University of Virginia Libraries); Nancy Rosenwald (Newberry College)
Reported by: Glenda Alvin (Tennessee State University, Brown-Daniel Library) <galvin@Tnstate.edu>
This was a very informative and timely “Lively Lunch” topic. More and more librarians are facing questions from their alumni about access to research databases. EBSCO, ProQuest, and JSTOR have databases that offer licenses specifically for alumni use. The librarians on the panel shared their experiences with these three products, as well as issues such as authentication of users, funding, and the library’s role in providing this service.
The University of Virginia’s Science and Engineering Library collaborated with the Office of Engagement to implement an alumni program several years ago. The Office of Engagement authenticates alumni users via its online database. The librarians provide support with using the databases. The library offers a multi-subject package of databases that is popular: http://www.library.virginia.edu/services/alumni/.
Negotiating Access: Textmining in 2012 and Beyond — Presented by Timo Hannay (Digital Science); Skott Klebe (Copyright Clearance Center); Richard Rogers (MIT)
Reported by: Grant Robertson (MLIS Student, University of South Carolina) <email@example.com>
Klebe introduced the concept of text mining by couching it as “research about research.” The kind of research that has to take place about research, he asserts, must be done my machines via algorithms as the magnitude of raw processing is just too enormous for humans to do in a reasonable amount of time. This introduces a new problem in the field as the kind of access necessary to journal databases is typically limited to only human interaction. Hannay added that publishers are hesitant to open this kind of access to “bots” due to uncertain outcomes. He suggested that our goal should be to show publishers the possible benefits and to embrace the risk and uncertainty of allowing bots to text mine their articles. The solutions that are offered to appease those that would oppose free access to articles, would be having time restrictions on the access or possibly having obfuscated text — that is having sentences that are rearranged to obfuscate the text enough that someone would not be able to understand it, but would be helpful enough for a bot running semantic algorithms to gather appropriate data.
SkyRiver, Academically Speaking — Presented by D. Russell Bailey (Providence College); Clifford H. Haka (Michigan State University); Mark Y. Herring (Winthrop University); Leslie Straus (SkyRiver Technology Solutions)
Reported by: Cody Walters (MLIS Student, University of South Carolina) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
SkyRiver, a newcomer in the cataloguing business, believes that it can rival OCLC’s dominance in the market. Three librarians from schools of varying sizes talked about how their libraries are using SkyRiver, what the benefits of SkyRiver are, and why other academic libraries may want to consider investigating a switch from OCLC or other products they are currently using. Among the topics discussed were customer service, a more intuitive interface, and a much lower service cost than OCLC. Among the hot topics was the bold claim that anyone off the street could be trained on SkyRiver’s system for a few hours and start cataloguing that day. Other topics included the content encompassed in SkyRiver (about ninety-three percent compared to OCLC’s ninety-six percent), and plenty of questions from the audience. SkyRiver also made sure to distinguish itself from Innovative, another company with which they’ve often been compared. They explained how SkyRiver tries to be more customer service oriented and more dedicated to solve problems, as they arise, than other vendors. The panelists answered questions about library implementation and vendor relations, while Straus provided specific details about the SkyRiver business model. (Visit www.against-the-grain.com for late breaking news about Innovative Interfaces and SkyRiver.)
Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want — Presented by Bonnie Zavon (HighWire | Stanford University)
Reported by: Elyse Profera (Taylor & Francis Group) <email@example.com>
This was a lively lunch session moderated by Zavon. First, the attendees were provided with an overview of the HighWire portal. The portal hosts content and other related information such as title history, usage reports, IP addresses, electronic licenses, and more from publishers that partner with HighWire. Zavon’s claim is that publishers’ online portals make it difficult for librarians to find the information they need, so HighWire works with publishers to streamline and host things like title information and publisher pricing from a central location. The purpose of the session was to validate Zavon’s argument by sourcing feedback from librarians as to if they have trouble finding the library help sections which they frequent on different publisher Websites and to determine how they stay aware of news, content availability, and updates from content providers. Zavon had a projector screen during the event and showed examples of publisher Websites including Taylor & Francis Online featuring LibSite, Duke University Press, Cold Spring Harbor Lab Press, University of California Press, and Oxford University Press, to name a few, to see how each site positions communication with libraries.
There were three librarians total who attended the session, and the rest of the audience was either vendor or publisher representatives. That being said, it was difficult to source a lot of candid feedback. The librarians who did attend mentioned that beyond publishers’ Websites, they want to receive publisher communication and updates within newsletters, press releases, and emails.
Using Technology to Facilitate Technical Services Workflows — Presented by Jeannie Castro (University of Houston); Kelli Getz (University of Houston)
Reported by: Kelly Leonard (MLIS Student, University of South Carolina) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In this session, Castro and Getz of the University of Houston provided an overview of their work to better streamline the workflow within the Technical Services Department at the University of Houston Library. Castro explained that after experiencing some lack of communication with Public Services librarians, the Technical Services Department experimented with three programs, hoping to find a satisfactory tool to better assist the communications between not only staff members but departments of the library.
After trying Zoho, Google Drive, and Microsoft Office Free, the librarians reported on the positive and negative aspects of each program. Kelli Getz described the ways each potential technological solution was used and the areas in which it succeeded and failed to satisfy the needs of the department. The session also afforded much interactivity with the audience; Castro and Getz encouraged the attending librarians to offer suggestions used in their own workflows, along with challenges and triumphs associated with the efforts.
The consensus of the audience appeared to be that a tool needs to be created that offers multi-user simultaneous editing, generous storage space, and little training involved in order to suit most librarians’ needs. No one piece of technology has yet satisfied any department, though many librarians expressed a general feeling of satisfaction with Google Drive.
The Value of Primary Source Material in Teaching — Presented by Emilie Delquie (Publishers Communication Group); Eela Devani (Bloomsbury Publishing Plc); Brenna Henry (Hillsdale College); Paul Moreno (Hillsdale College); Jenny Ridout (Bloomsbury Publishing Plc)
NOTE: Jeffrey Moyer (Reveal Digital) joined the panel.
Reported by: Robert Smith (MLIS Student, University of South Carolina) <email@example.com>
This session was a very interesting and informative meeting. The speakers were right on topic and each brought a unique perspective and certain expertise to the discussion. While all of the speakers were fascinating, for the sake of succinctness, I am choosing to only speak on two of them. The first of particular interest was Devani, representing the Churchill Archive Site. This is a site rich in primary source material with over 800,000 documents, speeches, diaries, letters, and other ephemeral material; a true treasure trove of information. Ms. Devani spoke of much of the mechanics of the site, along with the various search methods employed by scholars who are working within the site. The other speaker who I am choosing to highlight is Moyer. Mr. Moyer was not on the original program; and, prior to the meeting, I was talking with him in the audience. It was not until the presentation began that I realized that he was one of the panelists. Mr. Moyer represents a company called Reveal Digital, a digital publishing service. Mr. Moyer brought an interesting angle, that of publishing primary source material to the table. This panel was a brilliant assemblage, and the session was more than I hoped for. Bravo!
What do Publishers Do (and Why Does It Cost So Much)? What Librarians Need to Know About the Business of Publishing Today — Presented by Ellen Faran (MIT Press); Michael Magoulias (University of Chicago Press); Sylvia K. Miller (University of North Carolina Press)
NOTE: Michael Magoulias (University of Chicago Press) participated by telephone.
Reported by: Robert Matuozzi (Washington State University Libraries) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The value-added work and associated costs of scholarly publishing are not always evident to people outside of the business. MIT Press Director Faran presented a cost analysis breakdown of this work by citing in-house “P&L” (profit and loss) statements and 2011 statistics taken from the American Association of University Presses. The average cost per title for a “simple” scholarly monograph requires a 17% subsidy, assuming each monograph recoups 10-20K in sales. “One file” production costs for a text are fairly constant, although set-up costs (paper, printing, binding, etc.) obviously impact per unit costs of a given title. Magoulias (University of Chicago Press) offered a nuanced sociological analysis of contemporary scholarly journal publishing by deconstructing certain myths connected with academic publishing generally. Two myths seem noteworthy: that technology will solve all our problems (it sometimes creates more problems) and that journal pricing is an arcane science, when in fact it is often ad hoc, merely reflects historical realities and customs, or is submerged in “bundled” or institutional pricing arrangements. Miller (University of North Carolina Press) emphasized a holistic approach to academic book publishing and the fact that a successful book is an “invisible” book. By this she means that the labor and expertise of the publishing staff — from acquisition to editorial efforts, from book design and physical production to marketing, distribution, and copyright issues — are precisely what are “invisible” to most readers.
What is Keeping You Up at Night? A Discussion of Current Hot Topics in Collection Development — Presented by Susanne Clement (Utah State University)
Reported by: Amy Lewontin (Northeastern University)
The lunch discussion was facilitated by Clement, who asked each participant to list the top three issues in collection development that keep them up at night. The issues could be either strategic or local. The basis of the strategic issues discussed came from ARL’s “ISSUE BRIEF on 21st-Century Collections,” http://www.arl.org/news/pr/21sttfreport-17may12.shtml, released in May 2012, which listed content, infrastructure, publishing, and the way scholars communicate as key strategic issues in 21st-century collection development. The attendees were from a range of libraries, special, academic, and public, and publishers. Ms. Clement posed some interesting questions such as “How many of you have changed the workflow in acquisitions,” and this led to a wide discussion of how selection of materials is taking place now. Many libraries indicated they were now working with smaller staffs, and there was a variety of opinion offered on the impact of patron-driven acquisitions with shrinking budgets for collections and an exchange about getting faculty involvement. Also much commented upon was the impact of discovery services on workflows, on OPACs, and on the cataloging (or not) of e-resources. This led to a discussion of the best ways to “expose” the variety of resources in the new discovery tools. Staffing and succession planning were also commented upon. Ms. Clement was an excellent facilitator, and because of the wide range of attendees, it was a lively exchange of ideas on pertinent collection development issues. At the conclusion of the session, she distributed a survey, inviting session attendees to be part of her continuing study of trends (results may be published in Against the Grain).
What’s the Use? Usage, Utility, the Value of Library Resources, and the P- to E-text Transition — Presented by Bob Kieft (Occidental College) and Roger Schonfeld (Ithaka S+R)
Reported by: Cat Faircloth (MLIS Student, University of South Carolina) <email@example.com>
Kieft and Schonfeld tackled the subject of evaluating library resources as the shift from print to digital text continues to increase, in this somewhat unconventional session. Having the attendees move into a circle to facilitate discussion, they began by briefly reviewing some of the methods used to currently collect data, discussing the weaknesses, and then opened up the dialogue to include questions or strategies concerning specific cases from the attendees’ various libraries. There were numerous concerns over metrics used and types of collections evaluated, suggesting that there is much left to study. Their proposed research project, fueled by their belief that improved methods in data collection may prove, or disprove, their hypotheses concerning the demand for printed material when there is a digital copy either fully or partially available, seems to have a promising start, as the goal of this session was to gauge whether there is sufficient interest in this subject to warrant further intensive study.
What’s the Value of the E-Resources Librarian? — Presented by Gayle Baker (University of Tennessee Libraries); Rachel A. Fleming-May (School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee); Jill Grogg (University of Alabama Libraries)
Reported by: Charles Hillen (Loyola Marymount University) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The presenters began by outlining a brief history of e-resources and the extent to which management issues have changed over the past twenty years. Fleming-May provided a brief review of the Lib-Value Project, the inspiration for this session. Grogg highlighted several issues that make it difficult for e-resource librarians to demonstrate their value and contributions to services. Baker and Fleming-May discussed ARL collection expenditures since 2004, showing that the majority of a library’s materials budget is often devoted to e-resources, while staffing and other modes of support for e-resources management are not enhanced. Grogg engaged the audience well and asked several questions, including: Is this trend valid for your institution? Have workflows been shifted in order to manage these changes? How do you demonstrate your value? How often do you interact with vendors? Attendees offered many helpful insights, including ways to enlist the aid of other staff, documenting relegated concerns, relating core activities to the institution’s mission, promoting better training to colleagues, and leveraging vendor assistance. This session was lively and informative and proceeded as advertised.
Why Are Publishers Developing Their Own Ebook Content Delivery Platforms — What Are the Pros and Cons for Libraries? — Presented by Helen Clarke (University of Calgary); Nancy Gibbs (Duke University Libraries); Jessica Grim (Oberlin College); Tony Horava (University of Ottawa); Tim Williams (Edward Elgar Publishing); Michael Zeoli (YBP Library Services)
Reported by: Ramune K. Kubilius (Northwestern University, Galter Health Sciences Library) <email@example.com>
Moderator Zeoli inadvertently seated the panelists in “order” — librarians from large and small libraries on the sides, with one publisher in the middle. The discussion was friendly as well as fluid, not only covering issues and questions listed in the handout: publisher platforms, business & collecting models, workflow & technical services, and usability from both publisher and library perspectives. Zeoli provided an overview based on top publishers, indicating whether they have their own eBook platform, work with aggregators, and offer single (a la carte) titles. Per Williams, publishers treat authors as customers whose desire is to be widely distributed and cited. Horava’s institution uses a multi-pronged approach that includes front-list purchase and e-approval. Gibbs mentioned the graduated move to e-preferred two years ago and the “E-Book Advocacy Statement” on the library’s home page, also a preference of publisher to aggregator platform. Grim provided the small library’s perspective — advantages of consortia (bigger collection), disadvantages of single-library purchase (inability to share), and advantages to preferred eBook platforms (aggregators) for workflow. Clarke advocated divorcing content from interface. Licensing, rights, and niceties trump publisher bells and whistles. Discussion included the concepts of “platform fatigue,” ecosystems built around publishers’ own platforms, and library vs. publisher “branding” perspectives.
That’s all the reports we have room for in this issue. Watch for more reports from the 2012 Charleston Conference in upcoming issues of Against the Grain. Presentation material (PowerPoint slides, handouts) and taped session links from many of the 2012 sessions are available online. Visit the Conference Website at www.katina.info/conference. — KS
Leah was appointed Executive Director of the Charleston Conference in 2017, and has served in various roles with the Charleston Information Group, LLC, since 2004. Prior to working for the conference, she was Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions for the College of Charleston for four years. She lives in a small town near Columbia, SC, with her husband and two kids where they raise a menagerie of farm animals.