NASIG 2000

North American Serials Interest Group

June 2000, University of California at San Siego

Karen Cassel

Plenary Session I – Impossible Things

Eugenie Price, Corporate Libraries, Hewlett-Packard

This was a very dynamic talk based on the premise that "only those who see the invisible can do the impossible". Frequent reference was made to the Cinderella fairy tale, and the transformation of the mice. If we can dream it, we can make it happen. The Internet has affected every aspect of our lives – how we work, how we shop, how we entertain, how we practice medicine, etc. We live in an ambidextrous world with both print and electronic publishing. Doing things better and faster is no longer the way to go. We should be doing things differently – this is disruptive technology, which may be uncomfortable, but will be successful in the end. The white mice didn't become better performers, they became something totally different. The Internet has changed the serial publication process and the jobs of authors, publishers, editors, distributors are evolving and are no longer easily distinguished. Right now publishers are de-aggregated, but her dream involves publishers becoming re-aggregated. This calls for collaboration, structural agreements, common terminology etc. The role of the librarian in the new environment will be one of evaluating, selecting, matching query to fulfillment, and defining and developing tools. Nothing you can imagine is absolutely impossible.

Workshop – The Technical Services Dept Web Page : A New Wave Management Tool for Serialists

June Chresssanthis, Coordinator of Cataloguing,m Mississippi State University

Kathryn Wesley, Serials Cataloguer, Clemson University

A project was conducted to see how many libraries have Technical Services web pages and what was their purpose, what kinds of information was provided, how were they structured and what is the state of the art. A literature search was done first, and very little was found. The methodology was determined, and a random sample of 40 libraries was established. Of this group, 27 libraries had a Technical Services web page, and of these, only 19 had external links. These 19 were compared and the number of links ranged from one site with 3 links, to a site with almost 800 links. A handout was provided with some detailed comparative statistics. The conclusions were that there are divergent purposes for web pages; they could not correlate library type to libraries that had web pages – it was not just ARL libraries, or just large academic libraries. They actually found one library that did not have a web site of any kind.

Workshop – Reshaping Roles in Acquisitions

Pamela Goude, Account Services Manager, Ebsco (formerly Acquisitions Supervisor, Dartmouth College)

The skills required by Acquisitions staff has expanded to include technical knowledge and vocabulary, web research, hardware and software expertise, etc. Dartmouth College merged their Acquisitions and Serials Departments and cross trained all of the staff. In conjunction with the reorganization, they created a department mission statement with a list of goals. These goals were referenced frequently as changes were initiated. The merged department was reorganized into teams within focus areas including bibliographer liaison, vendor account liaison, financial processes, serials management, web and electronic resources, and bibliographic control. Team building exercises such as the use of the Myers Briggs and other resources, and fun days, helped to pull the staff together. The department has 21 staff of whom 4 are librarians.

Plenary Session II – Bob's World and Welcome to it: Bits, Bytes, and Your Little Dog Too.

Bob Cringely, PBS Commentator on the Information Industry

Libraries are in an era of change from preservation to management of serials. In time all serials information will be in electronic form and sharing archives will be easy. Librarians do not worry that computers will put them out of work. The impact of the Internet is only just being felt and we have underestimated its value and its cost. We are stewards, no longer just controlling an inventory. We can be more customer focused. The customer is the person who wants to learn and they need help to find the good stuff. Paper will never go away, but it will be used differently.

Concurrent Session – Speaking a Serials Cataloguing Tongue: Lingua Franca for the Web

Debora Seys, Information Consultant, Hewlett Packard Labs Research Library

Serials have always presented interesting bibliographic problems to solve. The speaker compared the highly evolved world of serials cataloguing to the emerging methods of metadata and markup, exposing universal definitions and translating them in a way that proves useful as we enter the world of intelligent documents and publishing on the web.

Workshop – Before They Throw the Switch : Insights on E-access from the Back Room

Ladd Brown, Acquisitions Librarian, Virginia Tech

Molly Brennan Cox, Serials Coordinator, Virginia Tech

The speakers presented the challenges and changing workflows related to acquiring electronic resources. Workflow charts were presented, comparing the workflow for paper acquisitions (basically a straight line), and the workflow for electronic acquisitions (a complex table with arrows in all directions).Virginia Tech has 25,000 students, 34 librarians, 1375 full text electronic journals. Like us, they only set up the electronic journals for which ip access is available. They spoke of the new skills required to handle electronic resources, and emphasized a need for tolerance for ambiguity. They currently use a detailed worksheet to track information about their electronic resources as they do not yet have a database. A survey conducted by Against the Grain has shown that 100% of libraries keep paper files for their electronic resources, and 10% are moving towards having a database.


It was a privilege to be able to attend NASIG. Although I have been a member for a very long time, I have only attended one previous conference. The conference was well organized and held at a very good facility. Through my participation in workshops, and in talking to colleagues between sessions, I concluded that in many areas, York is further ahead, more advanced, than other similar institutions.