07 November 2011

Charleston Conference, Part 3

Thursday afternoon saw the first of the lively lunch and concurrent sessions, meaning I had the difficult job of choosing between a very wide range of interesting and relevant sessions.

On Thursday afternoon I went to a Lively Lunch session led by Samuel Demas, Rick Lugg and Bob Kieft talking about the emotive issue of relegating materials to off-site storage or for removal. Three case studies showed the perils libraries encounter in this area and discussion was then opened up to the floor with members of the audience sharing their experiences in this difficult area. I think this might be a more contentious issue in American academic libraries than in the UK, where most university libraries have lacked comparable opportunities for expansion experienced in the US during the mid-twentieth century.

I then went to a session led by Joan Petit of Portland State University about locating good online collections of primary resources and informing library customers about these. UNESCO, The Digital Scriptorium and various Flickr library image collections were all suggested - it was great to hear the British Library's online content getting positive mentions in this session, too! An obvious resource to suggest for helping with this would have been the UK's Intute site. It's so disappointing that the funding for this resource has stopped, although it does seem like access will remain for the next couple of years, but without records being added or maintained.

Another concurrent session featured Anthony Watkinson from UCL, Fiona Murphy of Wiley-Blackwell and Linda Beebe of the NISO-NFAIS working group discussing issues in sharing research data. Fiona provided an overview of some of the reasons for, and barriers to, effective data sharing - in the context of the morning sessions, it was valuable to hear a publisher's perspective on this. Linda spoke about the issues relating to data contained in supplemental materials for journal articles - the definition of data used here (developed by the NSF) seemed significantly more inclusive than definitions used in earlier sessions. Case studies were suggested as a good way of helping librarians to get started on helping researchers with issues surrounding data, ideally from the very start of the process of planning for data collection.

Clifford Lynch and Lee Dirks led the afternoon plenary session, talking about Microsoft Academic Search Microsoft's free resource, and other tools which facilitate "open research", including Vivo ("Facebook for scientists"), Orcid which aims to resolve name ambiguities), Dataverse, Datacite, and Total Impact, which evaluates the impact of research in social media. A new tool, DuraCloud, was only formally launched last week, but provides mechanisms for backing up content in multiple online cloud computing systems (with a back-up back-up held offline).

The final session I attended on Thursday discussed the future of the collection development policy. This was led by Matt Torrence, Megan Sheffield and Audrey Powers of the University of South Florida. There was a lively discussion about the motivations and uses of policy documents - but I found it particularly interesting that the USF library has a LibGuides section devoted to collection development http://guides.lib.usf.edu/collection-development. The presentation from this session is available at http://guides.lib.usf.edu/futurecdpolicy.

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