ALA 2001

American Library Association

Annual Meeting, June 15-20, 2001

San Francisco

Report by Karen Cassel

For Whom the Bills Toll: How Much Paper does it take to Track Electronic Resources?

E resources may be paperless but they are not labour-less

1. Electronic Resources Tracking in the New Century. Nancy Stanley, Head Acquisitions Services, Penn State University

Penn State developed ERLIC, Electronic Resources Licensing and Information Center, 3-4 years ago; it is being integrated into their ILS system; it started as a tracking system for invoices and licences they scan the licences into the database for staff to see staff understand the information is confidential system allows one user to access at a time. ERLIC now includes bibliographic identifiers, order, budget and funding data, access and authentication information, licence agreements, contacts, usage data, predefined reports.

2. Electronic Licensing Issues for the Center for Library Initiatives. Cindy Clemson.

The CIC, Committee on Institutional Cooperation, a group of 12 universities, created the Center for Library Initiatives in 1994 to lead and direct resource sharing and collaboration. They currently have 20 agreements among 64 libraries. They negotiate central licencing and handle all invoices; they are currently developing a database to track information. She wants the library community to know that consortia are complex they have to deal with different calendar years, overlapping consortia, varying vendor credits; the needs of many outweigh the needs of few; decision making is time consuming; communication is king. She wants the vendor community to know that decisions take a long time, library budgets are not increasing at the same rate as publisher price increases.

3. Tracking Electronic Resources A Subscription Agents View. Christine Stamison, Academic Sales Manager, Swets Blackwell

She noted that the traditional model of the subscription agent is changing as many publishers are requiring direct orders for online journals/packages and because many libraries are ordering through consortia who also deal directly with publishers. Tracking electronic resources is more complex and challenging than tracking print serials; subscription agents could help us with this in a significant way: maintain URLs, access to journals through one interface, licence tracking and details, document delivery, usage statistics, etc.

General discussion after the 3 presentations it was noted that there should be a central database for libraries to use rather than each institution developing its own.

SPARC Forum: Outward Bound Effecting Change in Scholarly Communication from Outside the Library

1. David Schulenberger

This talk focused on how to help others see the need for change what should librarians tell those who hold the purse strings? the crisis is that scholars are producing valuable knowledge and research but it is not being made available to anyone this slows the progress of further knowledge; the reduction of library subscriptions is occurring at the same time as the amount of scholarly publishing is increasing so knowledge is not getting out there; the situation is unsustainable. He believes the even if libraries doubled their budgets they would not get twice the scholarly materials, because prices would also double. We have to restore scholarly publishing to the public good; we should support open archives; faculty can lead the solution they must and can change the system.

2. Dr. Pat Brown, Biochemist, Stanford University.

He talked about The Public Library of Science Initiative which he started he wrote an open letter to be signed by academic scholars as a grass roots venture, promoting free distribution of scientific knowledge and publicly funded research; 24,000 scientists have signed from 164 countries. He believes that scientific knowledge should not belong to the publishers but should be freely distribute; we need committed university support to encourage the faculty to publish this way

3. Ted Bergstrom, EconomicsProfessor, UCSB

The 6 most cited economics journals are owned by societies or university presses, and their average subscription cost is $180/year usd. Only 5 out of 20 of the most cited journals are owned by commercial publishers, with an average price of $1660/year usd. (see website for slides on comparative costs per page and per citation for economics journals). He looked at all of the economics journals cited in SSCI 91 owned by nonprofit publishers average cost per page, $.18, average cost per citation, $.15; and 206 owned by commercial publishers average cost per page, $.82, average cost per citation, $2.40. We should refuse to referee for expensive journals; we need to encourage cheap journals, referee for them, cite them and publish in them; we need to encourage professional societies to expand old journals and start new ones; writers should keep their own copyright and publish their papers on the web. Librarians should pay attention to prices and cost per citation; they should encourage departments to trade overpriced journals for cheaper journals, and encourage nonprofit start up journals.

Utilization of Digital Resources, Services and Technologies: Perspectives from a Panel of Researchers

1. Exploring the Feasibility of Seeking Copyright Permission, Carol George, User Studies, Carnegie Mellon

Her institution did a copyright permission project they want to become a recognized leader and migrate to a predominately digital library, pushed by a concern re a lack of space for print collections. They want to acquire permission to digitize full text and enable fulltext searching. They did a random sample of about 400 books. The process was to send letters to the publishers to obtain permission to digitize the books they sent form letters and asked for 1 of 3 options full permission, permission to Carnegie Mellon students only, or denial. Over a period of 18 months 278 letters were sent of which 60% required followup letters; 51% responded, 22% granted permission of which some had restrictions, 29% denied permission; some asked for fees average $100; average response time was over 100 days.

Audience discussion included criticism that the sample size was too small; the point was made that a random sample was not appropriate as you would not want to digitize books that do not get used.

2. Unobtrusive Evaluation of a Digital Reference Service, Joseph Janes, The Internet Public Library

He did a survey on the questions asked during Jan to March 1999; looked at the ways questions were submitted, what the questions were like and the responses to the answers. (see Library Trends v.49 no.2 for full article on this survey). 3022 questions were asked, 68% via forms and 26% via email; the form requires selecting a subject category 42% select other; form asks if they want a factual answer or sources to help them person answering the question reverses this choice from factual to source 40% of the time; 30% of time if person asking the question was asked for more detail, they did not respond; 19% of persons asking questions sent an unsolicited thank you note- there was a higher thank rate for questions that took longer to answer; noted that users cannot assign subjects and do not understand the concept of keywords.

3. Usage & Usability, Denise Troll, Digital Library Federation

She conducted an initiative on usage, usability and user support. Her first task was to write a motivational white paper (; then she called a meeting of library directors to read and comment on the white paper and to submit the 5 most important reasons for tracking trends, audiences, and indicators; her hope was for a consensus on 5-6 new measures. The outcome of the meeting was that there should be a survey done by survey academics to study the use of internal and external information, examine relevant environmental factors, identify gaps, and provide trend data. A survey of a random sample of over 3000 users was done in the fall of 2001. Results of the survey will be posted to the DLF website in August.

Ships Passing in the Night: Librarian/Vendor Communications

1. Communication Issues in Electronic Resource Negotiations, Paula Watson, Director of Electronic Information Services, Univ of Illinois

She told 3 stories about her dealings with vendors or publishers the win/win that wasnt, the big bill, and the drop deadline to illustrate the complexities involved in vendor/library relations. The lessons to be learned are that win/win is in the eye of the beholder; we should always negotiate; libraries and vendors have different business practices, different fiscal years; each needs to be sensitive to the needs of the other; it is difficult for vendors to understand library structure and policies; we should use commonsense and courtesy.

2. Consortia View, Cathy Perry, Director of Virtual Library of Virginia, VIVA

She surveyed her vendors and asked them to comment on what they like/dislike about dealing with libraries and consortia. Vendors know that libraries can take a long time to make consortia deals they would like it if libraries gave them more than 24 hours to for price quotations; they would like to be clear on who in the library is to be contacted about what parts of the negotiation; they would like increased civility; they would like libraries not to make unrealistic requests too emphatically.

3. Vendor View, Ron Miller, H.W. Wilson

Communications within the library are needed to ease vendor involvement; librarians who make the requests should be knowledgeable about what they are requesting; good relationships between vendors and librarians need to be there for ongoing dealings; sales is about listening to the other person, find out what they want and tell them what you can give them.

4. Communications Expert, Angie Baker, SOLINET

library values stewardship, service, intellectual freedom, rationalism, literacy and learning, equity of access, privacy, democracy

vendor values company goals, industry goals, sales targets, individual goals

Do we tell each other our goals? she recommends that we do share our goals/values with each other. Vendors need a better understanding of libraries. Meetings with librarians and vendors should have a purpose (other than the quota held by the vendor); we need to ensure the appropriate parties are participating, we should set goals mutually agreed upon; we need to develop the process and a timetable that is mutually agreed to and followup in writing

Negotiation considerations what do you want, why do you want it, who will it impact, who can give you what you want, what price and terms can you agree to, what do you have control over, what are the alternatives; dont have illusions about expectations, hear the vendor out, when in doubt find out, be willing to ask

Vendor obstacles weve never done that before, we want consistent pricing, we want to control the process, we must control the product

Negotiating skills: maintain composure, develop data, refocus the discussion, be creative, handle information strategically

The Serials Pig in the Aggregators Poke: The Sequel: Technical Services & Public Services Actually Talk to Each Other

This session was a followup to a session given at an earlier conference, for which there was insufficient time for followup discussion; this was primarily a debate/discussion of issues

Nancy Gibbs, Head Acquisitions, North Carolina State University

Scott Dennis, Humanities Librarian, University of Michigan

Chuck Hamaker, Associate University Librarian, University of North Carolina

Chuck did a survey of Project Muse libraries and found that 85% did not have the titles catalogued and very few had an ejournals list on their website.

Nancy eresources is the topic that has brought more collaboration and contention between public, technical and systems librarians what is the catalog what could it be we need to work fast to get eresources into the catalog and need a way to also get them out fast if cancelled she believes check in of online journals is ridiculous some libraries are going to stop checking in print we need cooperation between libraries eg why should we all do the work to put in Lexis Nexis records?

Scott we should have shared checkin of ejournals because we all get them from the same place, so if one site checked in an issue you know that you have it as well; could split up the alphabet between libraries to do shared checkin

Someone commented that some libraries do not want eresources in their OPAC.

Technical Services Knowledge, Skills & Training that Enhance Productivity: Technical Services Workstation Training for Today and Tomorrow

1. Technology and Productivity in Library Technical Services, Karen Calhoun, Director of Technical Services, Cornell University

-relationship of technology to productivity told the story of the use of the horse collar in medieval times which led to increased ability to do farming

30+years of technological advances in technical services MARC records, OCLC, online cooperative cataloguing, local library systems, the Internet, digital libraries

-we are being asked to do more with fewer resources at a time of greater demand and more complexity; sources of productivity and innovation technology, people superiority, process innovation, developing the people

-we need to balance people/process/tasks

-she described the early 21st century automation landscape:

bibliographic control desktop workstation database management the web

-new sources -network -relational databases -authoring

-new workflows -hardware -SQL -publishing

-metadata -software -more data manipulation -web site organization

-transition to new ILS -global changes


-levels of expertise information literacy information technology fluency computer literacy

-she talked about competency based approach to training and need for determining skills levels of staff for operating systems, software, hardware, search concepts and techniques, and networks

-lessons learned: commit to technical services as the heart of libraries of the future; aim for a culture of assessment, continuous improvement and IT fluency; encourage resourcefulness and critical thinking; automation unnerves people avoid techno speak; humanze the process; train and retrain; develop competency guidelines and different levels

2. Assessing the Need for Training, Sandra Ballasch, University of Iowa

-make an analysis of staff first; determine who knows what to help you to determine who trains on what skills

-do anonymous skills survey dont ask broad open ended questions; be very explicit; include questions on functionality as well as software and documentation

Distributed Digital Library

1. Linking in a Distributed Environment: Putting the Pieces Together, Priscilla Caplan, Florida Center for Library Automation

-linking systems is technically complex

-linking systems is organizationally complex

-linking is important, not just a good thing to do

-what we all want to accomplish user finds a citation, clicks on a link, and gets the cited article

-we want linking to work no matter where the citation is, no matter who the user is, no matter where the cited materials is, no matter what the cited material is

-some of the pieces we need to do this assign unique identifier, DOI, SICI, ISBN, BICI; get the id into the citation; use ids to get locations

-dealing with appropriate location problem show all known locations and let the user choose; route to different agent depending on the user and let agent decide appropriate copy; provide extended services eg link to library holdings or link to citation services

2. Clifford Lynch, Director, Coalition for Networked Information

-spoke about a project called Open archives metadata harvesting initiative