19 November 2012

Charleston Conference 2012: part 5

On the afternoon of Friday 9 November, I attended a lively lunch session about inter-consortial licensing. This discussion session invloved Ann Okerson of the Center for Research Libraries and Tom Sanville of LYRASIS. Tom suggested that "'wide' deals" between consortia could represent the best deals available for subscribing to e-resources. A range of examples were cited including inter-consortial licensing efforts for Gale's 19th Century Online collection and Bloomsbury's Churchill Archive. However, other projects such as the Knowledge Exchange project seem to be "in hiatus".

Following this, I attended a packed concurrent session addressing the question "Does format matter? Comparing usage of E-books and P-books". Michael Levine-Clark was presenting and described a really interesting comparative study of the use of e-books and printed books from Duke University Press. What makes this study so fascinating is that it was possible to compare use of e- and p- copies of the same titles. The study raised really intriguing questions, such as what constitutes use in relation to print books and how e-book usage figures can be compared with print use. A big issue in gathering the data related to multiple ISBNs - and the presenter gave a convincing plea for better standardization of these (a partial solution which was suggested was using a 9-digit ISBN taken from the core of the 10- or 13-digit versions). The COUNTER data showed that 36.7% of the e-books were used, compared to 66% of the print books, with nearly 39% of the 841 texts which were available as both electronic and print versions being used in both formats. Materials used in both formats seemed to be used at a higher than average rate, leading the presenter to conclude by posing the question "does this mean that people's preference is for good content, not format?"

For the second afternoon concurrent session, I attended a presentation about developing collaborative collections in the cloud. Aisha Harvey of Duke University Library gave an overview of interlibrary lending schemes and discussed recent moves by the Triangle Research Libraries Network to develop new initiatives in resource sharing as part of its Beyond Print initiative. Lars Meyer of Emory University described a shared print repository with Georgia Tech, focusing on the unique holding strengths of each library's collections and providing an opportunity for the partners to deduplicate their collections. Finally, Chuck Spornick of Emory University described a collaborative approach to developing future collections in Biomedical Engineering.

Ann Okerson of the Center for Research Libraries gave the first afternoon plenary session about SCOAP3 (Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics). Work on coalition-building for this project has been led by CERN and aims to redirect funding which would have been spent on journal subscriptions to funding peer review based on nations' shares of publications in the field of high energy physics. The journals funded in this way would then make their content available on an open access basis. The project is due to go live at the start of 2014, but CERN will establish its own repository next year.

The second afternoon plenary session was a discussion of "Find > Search", featuring five panellists: Majorie Hlava (Access Innovations), Elisabeth Leonard (Sage), Meg White (Rittenhouse), Stanley Wilder (University of North Carolina Charlotte) and Elizabeth Willingham (Silverchair). All offered their perspectives on how their organisations help users to find more effectively, with less searching. For me, a key message in this discussion was "find consensus, pool resources and do what works".

The final session I attended on Friday afternoon was a presentation about the role of patron driven acquisitions in a research library. Both presenters - Thomas Teper and Lynn Wiley - were from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and they described how central a patron driven approach to collection development has been in libraries. Teper cited some interesting figures (I think based on the local collection at UIUC) suggesting that in the 1930s as much as 80% of material selection was done by academic staff; in the 1970s the majority was done by librarians. Lynn described a range of initatives:
  • a consortial pilot program of PDA for print purchasing (2009);
  • a test of PDA for e-books (2010);
  • a local PDA system which provided customer access to subject selector records from the library's approval plan supplier (2011);
  • a new consortial program beginning February 2012;
  • a very new e-book PDA system which began in late October 2012.
This provides a rich set of data about comparative approaches to PDA, although the complexity of the combination of methods used seems to make it slightly difficult to draw clear conclusions about the comparative strengths of PDA versus library subject selector approaches.

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