Friday, June 13, 2008

Next generation library automation (NASIG 2008)

Vision Session I: Next generation library automation – Marshall Breeding

Author of Library Technology Guides:

Includes a db of libraries including the technology they’re using as well as a bibliography of his own work and others’ work (writing) about library technology.

1. Tumoil/upheavals
- industry cosolodation: mergers and acquisitions (companies becoming larger and fewer) which he feels has resulted in a narrowing of choices of products for libraries
- abrupt termination of major library library automation products
- increased control by external financial investors (equity coming from venture capitalists)
- dmise of the traditional opac
- frustration with ils products and vendors
- open source alternatives becoming mainstream
trends (data) taken from a survey of libraries (his) with roughly 7k responses

product technology trends
- innovation below library expectations; “we need the tools in order to deliver out content and services in the best possible way…in order to stay relevant to our users”
- conventional ILS is becoming less capable of doing this
- which has resulted in a proliferation of products related to e-content delivery

web 2.0 / collaborative computing
- ad hoc implementation
- demand requires the ability of users to be collaborative
- 2.0 technologies aren’t being integrated, disjointed;
- Proliferation of silos with no integration orinteroperability with larger library web presents

2. OpenSource
- alternative to traditionally liscensed software
- software doesn’t hold data hostage: does the system have an api so that even if the vendor didn’t provide access to a particular bit of info can you write a script to obtain it from the system?
- open content
- open acces patforms for scholarly content
- IRs
- bibliographic services
- oepnurl / erm knowledge bases
This is a good thing in his opinion.

3. Open source software: an emerging trend in global ils arena
“this is a spike…there’s clearly an explosive interest” drivne by disillusionment with current vendors
- beginning to emerge as a practical option
- total cost of ownership still roughly equal to proprietary commercial model
- two years ago it was a risky enterprise requiring courage on the part of a library (e.g. Georgia state library)
- TNSTAFL: open source software is NOT cost free: time, support, upgrades
- Libraries are looking for another alternative to the traditional ils
He predicts that traditional licensed products will coexist with open source…it makes the industry more healthy (as would a larger number of vendor systems); it’s good to have both because their coestience will drive improvements in both types of products
- Opensource (ils) options
o Koha
o Evergreen
o Opals
o Interesting to me that all three have commercial support, financial I assume.
- Building a case (in the business sense, e.g. justifying a purchase decision to administration) for open sources ils: compare total cost of ownership, evaluate features and functionality, evaluate technology platform and conceptual models, ask are they truly next-generation systems or open sources versions of legacy models?
- “Making a business case for open source ils” Computers in libraries, March 2008,
- Observations on opensource ils:
o Lack serials and acquisitions modules
o Initial wave opensource ils commitments happened in public libraries
o Again, are they really a new model of automation or an open source version of what we already have?

3. implications
4. opportunities emerge out of the upheaval
5. rethinking the ils: a non-integrated library automation system is not sustainable;

List of current open source products:

Comprehensive resource management

His job is to present us with his vision, our job is to ask (and answer) how is this going to affect my life as a member of the serials community? What would the ideal serials module be like? How would you do it again if you had a chance? Provide input based on the answers to these questions to both the ils vendors and the open source developers…it’s incumbent upon us to participate in the development.

How is this related to globalization of information?
- interoperability increasing & needing to increase (TWIF talks about interoperability being a “flattener”)
- delivery options needed to keep up with user demands for information delivery – how do they WANT to find, obtain, and use information? how are libraries interpreting and responding to these demands?

Breeding presented his expert, informed opinion on the future of the library ils/automation. Some of the trends he sees

When did e-books become serials? (NASIG 2008)

When did (E)books become serials?

Rick Lugg presented an overview of the issue including the differences and similarities between e-books and e-journals the gist of which was that the advent of E-journals has brought libraries and their users more content, increased usage, heavy print cancellations, archiving issues, larger share of the materials budget, need to be more selective as a result of recurring costs, more labor intensive.

Similarities between ebooks and ejournals
- both subscription based products
- online (sometimes predetermined) collections
- online “rental”

Differences between ebooks and ejournals
- more individual titles and decisions
- less granuar content and therefore less a&I infrastructure
- owned?
- Platform or maintenance fees
- Strong tradition of expert selection
- Traditional discovery tool is the opac
- Linking and aggregation is less developed
- Different acquisition models
o Platform fees
o Coordination with print
o Online or download
o Selectors and approval plans
o Acquisition on demand

Kim Armstrong (consortium perspective). Libraries have been discussion the same issues surrounding e-books since 1998 including such questions as
- What are the advantages and disadvanatages of ebooks over paper?
- What are the a/d of the current e-book publishing formats?
- What’s the best ebook and reader and should we invest in readers/
- When should we buy and ebook and when should we lease them
By a show of hands in the audience, libraries are still discussing them. Her point is that not a lot of progress has been achieved.

She talked about a deal between CIC (the consortium at which she is employed) with Ingram/Springer for the purchase of the entire Springer e-book output between 2005 and 2010. It provided them with a platform for hosting other publisher’s ebooks they might purchase during this period. Between January and May 2008 their usage showed a “thirst” among patrons for e-books in that their e-book usage was almost 50% of their e-journal usage during the first five months they were available even without the availability of catalog records. It will important to let go of our old models for dealing with books in order to provide our patrons with the e-books they thirst for.

Bob Nardini (e-book aggregator). “Books are back and we need to figure them out a second time.” Pointed out the need for interoperability between publishers, aggregators, and vendors in order to control e-books. Also pointed out the similarity between articles and books that was recently highlighted by the Harvard A&S faculty’s decision to archive their own works in an open repository where they are associated more with their author and the institution than with a group of other articles under the title, vol and issue of a journal.

Peter McCracken (e-journal management system vendor) focused his discussion on the management of e-books and e-journals. Similarities: delivery mechanism and licensing. Differences: e-books are not continually expanding and don’t compare with e-journals in terms of size. Conventional expectations include a need for more accurate information more quickly, bib records for e-books are far more descriptive than for serials and therefore more important for for e-journals, and greater expectations.

E-book management challenges
- title selection: too many records for libraries to manage by hand
- need a better way of transferring metadata from publisher to library thus all parties involved have to work together (more interoperability)
- proceedings: give libraries the opportunity to treat e-proceedings as either monographs or serials
- edition question: which ISSN or ISBN to use?
- different editions are the same, different formats (translations, film, Kindle, audio book, etc) are different which points out the ISBN question

He’s an engaging speaker because he’s so enthusiastic in a geeky sort of way!

Is what he’s really saying that we need a better system for identifying differences between e-books in an electronic environment? Perhaps a la Mike K’s “information shadows” from this morning?

One of the other things he’s saying is that often the relevance of the need for identifying different editions or formats is in the “eye of the beholder”…sometimes you may want to read Huck Finn and any edition will do but on the other hand sometimes you may want to ‘read’ a French translation via audio. That’s a really interesting point in the face of the arguments we’ve had in my library lately about multiple records for a single work ‘confusing’ the patron who just wants to read Huck Finn. Adolpho T. makes a good point that FRBR resolves this.

Great food for thought here: how could we treat e-books more like e-journals and would doing so be useful for our patrons and if it is more useful for them how will we know?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ubiquitous computing (NASIG 2008)

Information Shadows: How ubiquitous computing serializes everyday things. Mike Kuniavsky

A self-described user-experience designer. Author of Observing the User Experience. Now owner of a ubiquitous computing consumer products company.

Ubiquitous computing (UC) encompasses use of computers in everyday life (cell phones, talking refriderators, singing greeting cards, etc.) flattener # 10!! Resulted from commoditization of technology (i.e. the pental chip which cost $1500 in 1979 and 50 cents in 2008 with roughly the same power). His point is that “when something is cheap, you can have more than one of them.”

A “QR code” is an imprint that can be added to almost any physical thing and, when a handheld computer is pointed at it, will direct the computer to a url that contains information about the thing the imprint appears upon. For instance, food products point the user to nutrition information. The nutrition information is what Kuniavsky calls an “information shadow”. A “handle” is the term he uses for the imprint that allows one to make a connection to an object’s information shadow.

ThingM (a company that Kuniavsky is part of) makes it possible to access the information shadow of almost anything.

The distinction between an object, the digital representation of that object, and the object’s information shadow is becoming muddier through ubiquitous computing.

So, how does information shadows make everything a serial? His perspective of a serial is extremely accurate and interesting for someone with no library experience. He showed a drawing of a three dimensional box delineated by a dotted line. What he buys (with a subscription) is the possibility of an object rather than a specific object; it is an agreement between reader and publisher for ownership of the “rough outline” or the right to a class of things that changes with every instantiation. This enables us to take a whole new view of ownership and the potential to fundamentally change what it means to own anything. To take it a step further and give another example, why do I need to own a bicycle and my neighbor need to own a bicycle when we don’t typically use a bicycle at the same time? He broadened this example by describing existing a program in Germany called “Call a Bike” and is enabled by UC: you make a reservation for a bike. The bike has a computer chip and GPS signature which your phone allows you to unlock and use and then return. Your phone tracks and provides data that allow you to be billed for the time you used the bike. Thus everything becomes available by subscription!

This puts libraries and librarians at the forefront of this huge social shift because librarians have developed the means of “wrangling information shadows”. “The world of dotted line objects needs people who can organize information shadows.” That is do with information shadows of all kinds of objects what we already do with information shadows of books, etc.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Institutional Repositories (NASIG 2008)

The title of the session I attended this morning was "Institutional Repositories: Strategies for the Present and Future" and it included presentations by three people; one publisher and two librarians from academic libraries that have implemented institutional repositories. I was interested in this session for two reasons. First because TAMU-CC has joined the Texas Digital Library and second because I'm taking a course this summer in globalization and I think that institutional repositories are an example of the globalization of information.

Connie Foster, Western Kentucky University

The purpose of IRs is the organization and dissemination of scholarly work (Clifford Lynch); to make publically available the efforts and products of grant funded research; showcase the efforts of faculty (in the case of an IHE). Connie shared the statement of purpose for the IR at Western Kentucky University: “a digital repository, dedicated to scholarly research, creative activity, and other full-text learning resources that merit enduring and archival value and permanent access within a centralized database that supports, reflects, and showcases the intellectual life of the University through easy searching and retrieval, and universal access and indexing.”

She then presented some suggested practicalities and strategies for the implementation of an IR. She included a handout that WKU has created to market their IR:

Jean-Gabriel Bankier, Berkeley Electronic Press

IRs struggle for content because faculty lack the incentive to deposit their creative work in IRs (the value of the content is for the reader rather than the faculty), because they focus more on policy and technology rather than on obtaining content, and because their content scope is too narrow. Successful IRs focus on providing services to scholars that provide them incentive to make deposits (e.g. publishing services, signals of quality, proof that their work will be accessed through the IR), on providing faculty with “one-on-one attention” (evangelism), and on widening the scope of the content in the IR (e.g. books, journals, newsletters, conference, dissertations, theses, undergraduate work, speeches, lectures, presentations, etc….I would add other formats like visual art, audio, and video as well as courses).

He feels that IRs might reform scholarly communication by stimulating innovation in scholarly work by providing an additional outlet for scholarly work, by driving intra and inter institutional / disciplinary collaboration, teaching students about academic research and journal publishing, collecting and disseminating dissertations, supporting the creation of new academic journals, offering a new publishing model.

Glen Wiley, Cornell University

Talked the IRs at Cornell University. His focus was similar to Connie’s and JG’s, it included focusing on providing faculty with incentive to deposit their works (through the name/appearance of the repository and structuring the content for the user), recruiting from a variety of sources for content (including other (less accessible) repositories, conferences, faculty work linked from course management systems, and multimedia possibilities), innovative ideas for selection of materials to include in the archive, assessment by number of hits on and downloads from their web site. He finished up by talking about sustainability (from the practical standpoint of available funding, staff time investment, etc.).

This session (all three presentations) was useful for thinking about my globalization course and for thinking about the TDL implementation. Wiley wrote an article about how they failed at first which you probably ought to look for.

What I’m getting from the presentations in this session is that the general purpose of IRs is not only to collect the results of intellectual activity but to make them easily and freely available to the world…to promote scholarly communication.

IRs as a means for an IHE to influence the system of scholarly communication (Bankier 2007)
- promoter of free dissemination of scholarly work
- platform for OA journals (Foster’s story about being approached by a faculty/student group about starting up a freely available journal that resulted in an OA journal hosted on their university’s IR)
- that would make interoperability really important, not only between the IR and the opac but also between the IR and search engines like Google
- what other ways could an IHE do that? WHY would IHEs want to do that?

The presenters focused on assessment via usage statistics (# of downloads, etc.) and as an indicator of institutional quality. Has anyone tried to measure the influence of IR’s on scholarly communication? Or what affect (if any) IRs have on P&T or scholar recognition? Might those criteria be additional measures of success (which the presenters today are focused on to a certain extent)?

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