Innovation Lightning Round

by | Nov 16, 2017 | 0 comments


The Innovation Lightning Rounds focused on innovative or entrepreneurial thinking in libraries, which could involve new ways to solve problems, new technology or existing technology applied in new ways, etc. Each session featured four 10-minute presentations. Conference attendees had a choice of three Lightning Rounds to choose from. The following panel presented at the session I attended.

Innovation Round Speakers

(L-R) Phil White, Christina Geuther, Jeffrey Sowder , Michael Klein Swormink (at mike)

Michael Klein Swormink, Director, Business Development, HighWire, led off with a description of Campus Activated Subscriber Access (CASA), a partnership between HighWire and Google for off-campus access. Off-campus users have low tolerance for proxy services and other alternative means of access because of the number of manual steps involved to install them and the knowledge required for access.  So they turn to sites like Sci-Hub, and that illegitimate usage is not recorded. CASA is an alternative providing seamless off-campus access using subscriber links in Google Scholar. All that needs to happen is for a publisher to establish CASA on their platform. No configuration is required from users, and no new technology is required from publishers and libraries. CASA records affiliation on campus, propagates affiliation off campus, then enables access. Here are some of its benefits:

CASA Benefits

Phil White, Earth Sciences & Environment Librarian, University of Colorado Boulder, described how he mined citation data to more efficiently conduct a citation analysis using the Web of Science and its API. As a test case, he downloaded 421 faculty publications in the geosciences from the past five years, then developed Python scripts to retrieve all cited references for each publication, which produced a list of over 24,000 citations. The data were cleaned using OpenRefine and matched with local holdings. The results were:

  • The library provides access to 92% of the items cited 5 times or more,
  • 80% of the citations are made to 10% of the items,
  • Gaps in the library’s collection were identified, and
  • A core collection of geoscience journals was identified.

Further information is available here.

Christina Guether, Electronic Resources Librarian, Kansas State University, reviewed some tools and technology to protect a library from breaches of e-resource terms of use and presented a case study from her library. There has been an 85% jump in vendor inquiries suspecting violations of terms of use such as unauthorized crawling, systematic downloading, and third-party access including Sci-Hub transactions. The solution was to give the problem a more public face and direct the attention of public services to the problem, develop a ticketing system to track accesses, find repeat offenders, and reach out to users and educate them. Research guides were developed to explain best practices and answer common questions on licenses.

Tweaks were made in back end tools and EZProxy parameters were set to detect Sci-Hub transactions. (By detecting the offending users, they were able to discontinue their access before the vendor stopped access for the whole university.) Problem IPs were blocked using publicly available lists supplemented by their experience.

Blocking Problem IPs

Licensing was made more prominent in customer service and by displaying license terms in search results.

Jeffrey Sowder, Head, Technical Services, Emory University Libraries, spoke on data analytics for acquisitions and said that content is king, but data is queen. By tracking everyday activities, then keeping track of the data, it is possible to understand it. Behind the data are stories, inside those stories are people, and those people are connected to the statistics. There can be a large impact on staff workloads by some operations; the point  is to report up and out, and make your hidden work visible.


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