Erin Dorney

Blogging life & librarianship

Charleston Conference (W/Th)

with 2 comments

I’m in South Carolina for the 30th Annual Charleston Conference. Check out the Twitter hashtag (#chsconf10) and I’ll also be posting session notes here over the next few days (it will probably get annoying… sorry!). I have italicized the ideas/quotes I find most intriguing.


  • I arrived, checked into my hotel, registered for the conference and met up with some of the CREDO Reference crew for their dine-out at The Wreck of the Richard and Charlene. I had sweet tea, grilled shrimp, red rice, a fried hominy square, key lime pie, and fried oysters (my first time trying oysters, delicious!). The food was great & many thanks to CREDO for inviting me along!

Thursday session notes

Let Them Eat… Everything: Embracing a Patron-Driven Future

Rick Anderson (Associate Director for Scholarly Resources & Collections, University of Utah)

– With scholarly communication, we need to move from insane to more sane – profession suffering from Stockholm Syndrome
– Less sane = ILL (failure to buy the right collections, not failure of the service), big deals including subscriptions & approval plans, reference/bibliographic instruction (not scalable – 20 ref librarians trying to educate 34,000 students?) cataloging (redundant – one pretty good record is good enough!), print run (unsustainable, nonsensical)
– Problem is not that these practices are old, it’s that they don’t make sense
– More sane = article purchase (better pricing model), Wikipedia (model of information creation & distribution – hive mind – returns manageable & reliable, authoritative results), ease of use, patron-driven acquisitions, print-on-demand (buying/printing only what is wanted)
-Definition of libraries through the 19th century (OED/Merriam-Webster) – building, room, set of books, place, literary materials, kept for use
– Definition from Wikipedia – collection of sources and services, structure in which resources are housed
– Definition of a library is getting fuzzier but still thought of as a physical place filled with a collection.
– Introduction of the Internet – scholarship accessed online (radical change)
– Now… library walls are very fuzzy – more postmodern definition
– Game changers for next 5 years – continued budget declines, Google Books (discoverability & availability – unrestricted), Hathi Trust (robust, trustworthy archiving with effective metadata), patron-driven (ebooks, articles, print-on-demand)
– U of Utah has an Espresso Book Machine – physical processes work.
– Surprises: demand for POD, demand for blank books w/images from their digital collections (survey incentive, now they sell them!), opportunities for commercial publishing.
– Plans for the future: U of Utah Press backlist, making unique digital collections available (pioneer diaries), on demand book content into their catalog.
– Why are we still building collections anyway? We’re going to see a more distinguished line between regular and special collections (physical curation); budget management; not everything can be purchased immediately.
– The unattainable ideal: every book, article, data-set ever published easily & immediately findable at the point of need
– What can we do in the meantime? Share, expose & purchase what the patron wants, by-the-drink purchasing for journal articles

A Consortium for Sharing Primary Materials

Joseph J. Esposito (CEO, GiantChair)

– Create consortium of academic institutions to digitize and share important collections with other members
– Start w/ 5 founding institutions, each digitize a particular collection & commit to ongoing maintenance, invest money for management… benefit = access to other members’ collections.
– Benefits: eliminates free-rider problem (insist that people step up), leverage (one investment yields many), cost is steady while value continues to grow, unlikely to be de-funded because of scalability and value
– Problems/goals: intellectual property, does collection have the proper scope/is it sufficiently comprehensive, project management, protecting materials, vendor relationships (many more).
– Biggest is how we’re going to pay for this:
– Research & planning costs (one-time), do a feasibility study,
– Start up costs (one-time), hosting firm, digitization, management team
– Maintenance (ongoing), hosting fees, curation fees, MARKETING (“demand creation”)
– Enhancement costs, new features, technologies, business developments (international v. US), retrospective redigitization
– “Sometimes thinking big gets in the way of starting small”
– Objections: how do you deal with unaffiliated scholars? What about institutions who want access for teaching but can’t afford to curate? (subscription basis) Why restrict access at all? (great idea but back to free-rider problem)
– “We talk sufficiently about benefits of being a community. We talk insufficiently about the responsibility of being a community”
– Why primary documents? Potentially fewer IP issues, public domain books already being covered, not likely to be comprehensively covered by commercial sector & you have to start somewhere
– Small, strong management team to implement these things – not via board
– What would we call this new service/product?

Who Do We Trust? The Meaning of Brand in Scholarly Publishing and Academic Librarianship

Moderator Anthony Watkinson (Senior Lecturer, Department of Information Studies, University College London); Kent Anderson; Dean Smith; Hazel Woodward & Allen Renear

(Anderson – CEO/Publisher, The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery)
-Is trust a binary thing? No, there are shades of gray
– Relationship of trust between authors, sponsors, peer reviewers, editors, journalists, policy makers, brand, & process
– Public access to research has been confusing, troublesome, edifying – they are creating their own “trust markets” in Twitter, Facebook, etc.
– “Doubt is the father of innovation” – Galileo

(Smith – Director, Project MUSE)
– Print-only, print/digital, and digital all have different characteristics and relationship dynamics
– Students want to share things across their own communities and develop authority amongst peers by consistent posting

(Woodward – University Librarian Cranfield University UK)
– Academics, students and brand trust
Researchers of Tomorrow study – UK (look up) looking at doctoral students and how they undertake research. One thing is that supervisors exert a powerful influence over the students’ research process.
– They are comfortable with technology but they don’t equate ease of access with quality of resource
– We’re the purchasers but not necessarily the consumers – we need to make it easy to find, access, use
– A.J. Pickard “Users’ trust in information resources in the web environment” JISC (look up)
– Publishers and brand trust – much of current credibility is rooted in offline presence, need to retain that as they transition to online only
– “Trust: the smallest word that makes the biggest difference”

(RenearAssociate Dean for Research and Associate Professor, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
– Researcher perspective – importance/nature of trust varies by discipline
– What is trust, really? The property X confers trustworthiness with respect to Y=df
– Importance of trust in the traditional sense is something that may be exaggerated at least for some fields or tasks
– Low motivation – funding, career advancement (trying to find something that’s worth our time)
– Trend away from searching for and then finding a relevant trustworthy article to read, towards text mining, strategic reading (without sustained sequential reading of the narrative text)
– “the search trance” sub-cognitive, video-game like

Charleston Conference Observatory: Are Social Media Impacting on Research?

David Nicholas; Ian Rowlands & Deanna Wamae

(Nicholas – Director of the Department of Information Studies, UCL Centre for Publishing and CIBER Research Group)
– Did a study on understanding how social media impacts the research workflow
– Used online surveys and follow-up focus groups
– 4,012 people surveyed from 215 countries
– They will be producing a published report

(Rowlands – Professor of Information Studies,  University College London)
– There is a gap between awareness and use
– 85% of respondents are using at least one social media tool for research
– Most popular tools are well known, generic & free (Skype, Wikipedia, Google Docs, Twitter, You Tube, Doodle)
– How useful is social media in the context of the research cycle? It is valuable in all stages except for analyzing research data
– Needs: simple tools to support analysis of research data and easier way to identify grants
– Perceived benefits: communicate internationally, increase speed of disemmination, connect with people outside of academe
– Social media drivers: personal initiative/curiosity/experimentation, technology, need for speed
– Differences by age group? No clear ‘digital native’ effect – very complex. Highest age group using social networks for research is the 46-55 range
– What do researchers want to see from publishers? Content readable on all platforms, links to the data behind the published articles, greater use of multimedia
– What do researchers want from libraries? Index full text library holdings, socially tag library catalogs

(Wamae – Senior Vice President of the Americas, Emerald Group Publishing Inc.)
– Consumption of content is still over static technology (vs mobile)
– Blogs, social networking & microblogging are growing in preference among the research community in terms of dissemination
– The tools that are being used are designed for mass consumption (not academics) and are being adopted from personal spaces
– Social media use seems to be focused on the beginning and end of the research cycle

Library Connections: A Non-Linear Approach to Planning, Marketing and Creating the Positive User Experience

Leah Dunn (Guilford College)

– Perception study showed a gap between employee and student satisfaction rates bu 87% of students still said the library is important to them… why?
– Find out what students are interested in (NOT library related) – fair trade coffee, study abroad, socializing. Then figure out how the library can be a part of that

Remainder of the session was a discussion where everyone talked about ideas for marketing/outreach:
– Most faculty list the writing center as a resource on their syllabi –  how can we get the library listed there?
– Ask for student feedback on policies (i.e. cell phone usage in the building) – make them a part of it
– Hand out valentine’s day cards to students “you library loves you!”
– Have your marching band walk through the building playing – beneficial for both organizations
– Look at faculty or student paper citations, see who used library resources, use that in marketing

EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) vs. Serials Solutions Summon Faceoff

Moderator George Machovec (The Charleston Advisor); Tim Bucknall (UNC Greensboro); Jane Burke (Senior VP for Strategic Initiatives, ProQuest); Mike Buschman (Senior Product Manager, Summon); Sam Brooks (Senior Vice President, EBSCO); and Michael Gorrell (Senior Vice President, EBSCO)

Question 1: Why do libraries need discovery tools?

  • Summon – Are you facing decreased collection budgets? Ar you trying to revamp your library brand? It has been challenging, interesting, thought-provoking initiative to bring Summon to the market. Last year David Lankes quoted the library mission to be “improve society by facilitating knowledge creation in our communities.” We believe that Summon is an essential element of that mission statement. Faculty know the information is at the library, but it’s so difficult to find, they turn to the open web.
  • EBSCO – Due to the success of Google and increased user expectations, vendors need to help libraries compete. There are 3 historic options for information discovery: library catalog, federated search, individual subject indexes. None are ideal. A single search box will help libraries compete.

Question 2: What are 3 primary reasons a library should choose their discovery tool

  • EBSCO – Superior depth of coverage, superior breadth of coverage. Ask 3 questions when considering a discovery service: What is the true number of un-duplicated journals covered? What metadata is being searched? ::shit, I missed the third one:: Which subject indexes are included? EDS has widgets, skin-ability, search history, comprehensive faceting, and more. Take a full trial of each of our services and let student, faculty test. A service w/ subject indexing will produce more relevant results.
  • Summon – We created something Google-like: simple, easy & fast. Good user interface. No authentication needed (you don’t need to log into Google to start, right?). Delivers results in a single index very quickly with no stragglers. It meets today’s end user expectations. UNECO compliant. Not as important to get to the record level. Summon has a recommender to facilitate discovery. Built with open source and built to scale. Announced 2 years ago at ALA Midwinter – now it’s being used in libraries. Proven value. Configurable & customizable – stand alone or nestled in. Summon can become the library’s digital front door. We offer coverage analysis reports to all customers/potential customers & have a list on our website.

– Live portion where Summon and EDS did test searching on large screens.
– Summon – Persistent URLS that keep your exact search (facets and all) – cool! AZ State, Dartmouth College used as live examples, can include institutional repositories, institutions have used the Summon API to build/skin their own.
– EDS – James Madison University Libraries, University of Georgia used for live example, can’t access anything as a guest – need to authenticate, customizable, can choose different default search screen. Federated searching on EDS is optional. “Publisher bias” – any system will have biased based on the metadata that’s available.

The Tower and the Open Web–the Role of Reference

John Dove; Phoebe Ayers; Casper Grathwohl; Jason B. Phillips & Michael Sweet

(Dove – President, Credo Reference)
– How can publishers and aggregators collaborate with open web players to the benefit of libraries?
– What is reference? Must encompass librarians, desks, books, rooms, interviews, etc.
– Reference is an intermediary between a person and a body of knowledge
– Google mindset is that there should be no intermediary between an individual and information
– What about information overload in the context of the student body/higher education? Filter failure.
– Is institutionally-sponsored reference dead?
– Google’s intermediary =context sensitive results  (how can libraries do this?)
– If you could control the open web life of your students, what would it look like? Where are the places where students get stuck? Leading response is that students don’t have the vocab to even do a search in the resources we’re providing.
– The user has moved. We need to be right beneath their noses.

(Grathwohl – Vice President and Online and Reference Publisher, Oxford University Press)
– Knowledge delivery systems have layers of authority in which movement is fluid
– How do students use Wikipedia for research? 82% to obtain a summary (First Monday report by Head & Eisenberg) We need to give them more credit!
– Wikipedia is a way that faculty can reach beyond the boundaries of their discipline

(Ayers – Wikimedia Foundation / University of California at Davis)
– 1st librarian elected to the Wikimedia board
– Wikimedia’s vision – every single human can contribute to the sum of all knowledge
– “community curated work”
– Take their librarian survey!

(Phillips – Librarian for Sociology, Psychology, Gender and Sexuality Studies and American Studies, New York University)
-Planning an empirical study to interview NYU undergrads – their familiarity with different types of reference resources, correlate the ability to identify social and cultural arguments with coursework trajectory, information seeking behavior and/or library contact.

(Sweet – CEO, Credo Reference)
– We need more than a faithful reproduction of a printed text for online reference (LJ October 15, 2010)
– Discovery – visibility for your library – search engines, news sites, mobile, Facebook, etc.
– Context – overview, summary, vocab from MULTIPLE perspectives
– Connection – seamless integration
– Innovate – smart use of technology, where are the users?
– Information landscape 5 years from today? Online reference can bridge users from the open web to the library world


Written by Erin Dorney

November 4, 2010 at 9:31 PM

2 Responses

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  1. Here’s the thing, though. You can’t be lauding Hathi Trust for “robust, trustworthy archiving with effective metadata” on the one hand and yet saying that cataloging is “redundant and one pretty good record is good enough!” It’s just not true. A lot of what makes HathiTrust reliable and effective is decades of cataloging that went/goes the extra mile, with informative and reliable item records attached to very descriptive bibliographic records. This is especially true for the serials and multi-part monographs.


    November 5, 2010 at 1:30 PM

  2. Thanks, Erin. Great work!


    November 6, 2010 at 8:37 PM

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