Electronic Resources & Libraries 2014

What a great conference Electronic Resources & Libraries (ER&L) is. Presentation topics seem so timely to my own work—two years ago the talk was all discovery layers, this year it was heavy on eBook licensing and usage—and the specificity of the content is also highly appealing: useful tips about EZProxy here, large-scale models for analyzing troubleshooting workflows there, and a rabble-rousing talk by Barbara Fister to remind you how you got yourself into this mess in the first place.

And it’s always in Austin, where it’s sunny and friendly and busy (though being a city famed for live music still means 80% of it is terrible alt-rock covers).

I presented with my colleague and friend Meg Ecclestone on the usability of borrowable eBooks. She wrote a good piece about our rationale and progress here, so I won’t repeat but, in summary: their DRM causes a lot of confusion:

I’ve published my notes below, but would really encourage you to watch Barbara Fister’s talk in full.

Making Usage Data Meaningful
The STL Curve Ball: In Search of a Sustainable Short Term Loan Model
Beyond “I Clicked the Link, But It Didn’t Work!”: What Analyzing Troubleshooting Reveals

Barbara Fister – Freeing Knowledge: A Values Proposition
 (again, you should really just watch the whole thing!)

–       “not just provoking, but provocative”
–       1990s – ownership > access
–       now – toll gated access > open access
–       not about technology, about tools to make the library and community better
–       “lifelong learning” in mission statements + access, discovery, research, all prefaced by words like provide, support, promote, serve – these are passive verbs, patiently working for the chance to help – surprising, since we’re ahead
–       our mission should reflect our core values
–       “The purpose of the library is to preserve the integrity of civilization” – stronger words: inspire, connect,
–       librarians as shape-shifters
–       Chronicle of Higher Ed cover story – “The deserted library” – amenities of a retail operation (B&N) were so much more effective.
–       We’ve internalized consumer-based notion of what students want
–       Provide items for consumers to produce value
–       “we tried to make you use those databases, we told you they were important. Now you can’t have them.”  Again: Lifelong learning.
–       Local vs. global economy only works when we’re talking about uploading and downloading intellectual property.
–       Think in terms of supporting conversations – discover and connect to chosen networks using free and fair infrastructure. Stop thinking of ourselves as providers of stuff to local payers
–       “We need to rethink our assumptions about this provider role, thinking instead about groups of people shaping the world – make the producer/consumer roles obsolete”
–       why deposit in a local IR when you can just post it to Academia.edu and no one will yell at you about copyright?
–       GLAM and the Free World – Corey Doctorow
–       “The world needs our grandiose values more than they need our passive mission statements.
–       Libraries have absorbed neoliberal framework
–       ROI that talk money pit us against the rest of the university and the market. They will fail us.
–       Open Folklore – partnership between American Folklore and the Indiana Libraries
–       Being merely service providers – giving them the information they need – removes us from a lot of our values
–       Set aside a % of budget and staff time for open access publishing
–       80 libraries coming together to create a press? Task force is underway to see if this is possible. The Lever Initiative

Making Usage Data Meaningful
Jill Morris & Emily Guhde, NC LIVE

–       NC Live – Consortium of 200 libraries
–       Problem – how to make usage data meaningful? What changes with discovery tools? Are users downloading and using stats?
–       Library perspective – What kind of use should we be seeing?
–       “What kind of use should we be seeing?”
–       future study will tackle the ‘why’
–       for analysis – create peer groups to study across (same type or size)
–       studied 5 databases, found which data points were most useful for study – applicable to all members of the cosortium
–       no one library was at the very top or very bottom for every resource.  Lots of variety between the top and the bottom.
–       Usage data summit – all advisory committees. Said peer groups were not flexible enough.
–       Analyze and report qualities of “high usage libraries.” Looked at variables around:

  • Access and authentication (proxies, discovery layer)
  • Content & collections (which other databases do they have?)
  • Awareness, outreach and support (did they provide staff training/give out promotional materials)
  • Community characteristics (drop-out rate, graduate student #s)
  • Library characteristics (librarians per 1000 students)

–       Divided libraries in to thirds – looked at top third and compared middle and bottom third. What are trends in what they do differently? (only looked at Academic Search Complete initially)
–       Highlights: 77% of top libraries use direct-links
–       More librarians attend faculty meetings
–       More NCLive reps
–       Higher service/student ratio
–       Higher circulation rate
–       The ways that library users access databases are related to use.
–       Authentication with a local proxy & federated search service = highers use
–       Lower use: linking to NC Live website, displaying NC branding
–       Less customized user experience correlated with lower usage
–       Variables that predict use:

  • Authenticating with a local proxy statistically significant – encourages usage. Needing a password takes time,
  • Total library expenditures per FTE is negatively correlated with use of Academic Search Complete. These are the largest research libraries
  • Public universities see actual bill – so they value it/ try to engage with it more.

–       Planning for services related to usage data: what do libraries need? Vast majority are downloading usage data.

The STL Curve Ball: In Search of a Sustainable Short Term Loan Model 
Lisa Nachtigall, John Wiley & Sons
Rebecca Seger, Oxford University Press
Michael Levine-Clark, University of Denver
Emily McElroy, McGoogan Library of Medicine at University of Nebraska Medical Center
Barb Kawecki, YBP Library Services

–       Sustainability of publishing
–       In 2011 only about 20% of books were both print and eBook – about 46% now
–       Decline of print sales in consortia
–       Huge increase in short term loans and DDA, but print orders are way down
–       Records sent from YBP – way more STLs than auto-purchases
–       Michel Levine-Clark – have had DDA program for the last 3 years. Are buying fewer books, but STL aren’t the major culprit
–       Funding is up, but mostly for ongoing stuff (i.e. subscriptions you have to keep paying for)
–       Monograph purchases WAY down
–       Rebecca Seger – Oxford UP
–       Key considerations – author advance, royalty, production costs, list price, discipline, editorial strategy, sales forecast
–       Lifetime unit sales are in the 400-600 range
–       Fixed cost for a book – $10,000 for copy editing, proof reading, author . Other cost per book is 5.50-7.50 each
–       Indirect: physical and digital warehousing, metadata warehousing and distribution
–       24% of e-sales from OUP are through DDA. 13% of total sales are e-sales
–       willing to experiment with it
–       Lisa Nachtigall – Wiley – top 100 titles contributed 35% less revenue in 2013 vs. 2009. Each title is selling fewer copies,
–       Specialist monographs disappear from the conversation because we can’t publish them. Editorial profile of a publishing company changes from research to upper level textbooks and professional reference
–       Offshoring and out-sourcing means they’re reducing staff. Tighter pool of preferred vendors

Beyond “I Clicked the Link, But It Didn’t Work!”: What Analyzing Troubleshooting Reveals
Sommer Browning, Auraria Library
Katy DiVittorio, MLIS, Auraria Library
Mr. Lorne Madgett, University of British Columbia Library

–       Auraria – No matter how the issue is reported it goes to the same place
–       Bugzilla – internal reports. “Report an Error” and “Feedback”
–       When people report access issue, want as much info as possible. Want a URL, what they were searching for
–       Troubleshooting analysis: how long does it take to resolve an issue, if it’s getting resolved. How could we improve, become more proactive?
–       Analyzed 100 issues over a 9 month period. Used Excel.
–       Created categories, resolved vs. unresolved, lenth of time, resouces involved, type of problems
–       Resolved = problem fixed for future users
–       Who is reporting the problem? 74% of issues are reported by library staff
–       No one quick fix  – diverse and complicated issues
–       What can we control? Platform changes, need to encourage staff to report.
–       Quarterly e-resources spreadsheet = get student to check all browsers and platforms on and off campus, proxies, branding,
–       Report a Problem button – not staff
–       Vendor diary – unexplained downtime, interface changes unannounced
–       The future: 15% of issues were with OA resources. 18% of errors were from patron error
–       Lorne – e-resources and access library specialist
–       “Is it me, or are these questions getting harder?”
–       Use Desk Tracker – report contact method, type (basic/intermediate/advanced), who reported (staff or user)
–       Ran some stats – yes, basic questions were going down, intermediate going up
–       Areas of interest: who is reporting? Are they problems, or knowledge gaps (with a bit more info, could they have solved it themselves)? What could the team learn to map out training and competencies?
–       46% of incidents reported by staff, 15% by faculty
–       Access problems that were knowledge gaps = 22%

  • chipping away at this  would save staff and user time
  • Gaps = largely ejournals a-z (have coverage 1997-present, why can’t I get an article from 1983?)

–       Often: Something broke with the vendor – was reported, and fixed, but they don’t know why or how it got fixed. Need to push back on this.
–       Resource management – activation error, MARC record lag-time, EZProxy file (needs to be up-to-date), lapsed subscriptions.
–       Lots of questions about aggregator eBooks
–       Making basic DIY info available has been known to create a drop in basic questions
–       Why analyze? – become more aware and competent troubleshooters, staff on the frontlines become more confident, improve the user experience


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