Last week I posted on the business librarians discussion at the Charleston Conference. Here are my notes and lessons from the conference sessions.
William Cross and Hilary Davis discussed how the NCSU Libraries created a “data management plan review service.” There is no data specialist on staff, so the subject liaisons are implementing the service with leadership from Hilary. The annual goals for the liaisons now include learning opportunities for data management plans (DMPs). (Yes, yet another role for already over-extended liaisons to learn and carry out.) One liaison workshop featured practice with a pretend DMP – neat idea. Hilary said there is a learning curve, but that it didn’t take too much training for the curve to plateau. The liaisons recruited partners and expertise across campus, like from IT, research office staff, and statisticians. They also found fruitful collaboration with the librarians at NC A&T. NSCU found graduate students to be the most effective target audience; those students tend to drive the development of the data plans.
Since UNCG will be losing access to EndNote Online/Web next summer (part of a story for an upcoming post), a small group of liaisons last summer reviewed if we should subscribe to another citation management system. We decided to officially support Zotero, but in the process got to know some of the other products better. One of my favorite instructors at UNCG recently began a PhD program at NCSU and told me that many in her cohort are using Mendeley. So I decided to get more familiar with Mendeley and played with the online and desktop versions earlier this semester.
At this panel, an Elsevier representative introduced Helen Josephine, Head of the Terman Engineering Library, Stanford University and Indira Yerramareddy, Information and Knowledge Management Specialist of the International Food Policy Research Institute (Washington, D.C.). There was a mild sales-pitch vibe in this program, which savvy Charleston Conference attendees would have expected, but the program also provided useful case studies of the use of the product at Stanford and the NGO. Most of the attendees at this event were not Mendeley users.
Helen Josephine is the self-proclaimed “Stanford University Library ‘champion’ for the campus-wide adoption of Mendeley Institutional Edition (MIE).” In 2011, before the library subscribed to the Institutional Edition, Helen reported that there were 1,800 free accounts used on campus and just 23 premium accounts. (Premium account users get more online storage space as well as access to “team plans” for group storage and communication). The library provided Institutional Edition access in 2012; that edition includes the premium services plus analytics tools. Now there are 1,250 students utilizing the Institutional Edition and 2,250 students still using the basic, free account (even though the Institutional Edition is free to them through the library). Most of the Mendeley users at Stanford are engineering and science students. Helen discussed the workshops and promotional materials provided for Mendeley users, although word of mouth marketing is probably the most effective method of promotion.
Indira Yerramareddy discussed how her researchers use Mendeley to connect internationally around publication groups. The groups help disseminate the organization’s publications.
Up next in my conference notepad are notes from when Jill Morris, soon to be the interim-director of NC LIVE, and I went out to Market Street for a glass of wine. We brainstormed a NC LIVE ambassadors program that will hopefully be trialed using business librarians from BLINC. Probably more about that in a future post.
[At this point in the conference I stopped taking paper notes and focused on live-tweeting programs (#chs14). So to write the reminder of this blog post, I’m cutting and pasting my tweets into Word and then turning the tweets into paragraphs. We’ll see how readable this becomes.]
Hyde Park Debate & What Faculty Want Librarians to Know
One of the cool things about the Charleston Conference (besides the location) is that the programming formats are creative and vary through the day. Also, the conference directors periodically revise the conference schedule. I wish more conferences were open to shaking up their traditions.
One example of interesting programming is the Hyde Park Debate held early Friday morning. The goal of the debaters is not to win a majority of votes, but to change the most minds. This year the debate topic was “Resolved: Wherever possible, library collections should be shaped by patrons, instead of by librarians” and the debaters were Rick Anderson, Associate Dean for Scholarly Resources and Collections, University of Utah, and David Magier, Associate University Librarian for Collection Development, Princeton University. There were lots of tweets about the debate and the Q/A time that followed, but what really made the debate most interesting for me – in retrospect — was the next event: short lectures from three professors regarding “What Faculty Want Librarians to Know”. (Previously this program slot concerned “what provosts want librarians to know,” another example of the conference directors keeping the programming fresh). The profs represented three disciplines:
- Theoretical physics
- Classical Studies
- Securities Studies (South Asian studies/social sciences)
While the two debaters had to generalize the behavior and needs of researchers, here were three researchers discussing in great detail their very active pursuits of data, journal articles, and primary sources. The professor of securities studies has even created her own print library due to the limitations of collections in her very specialized field. While I don’t want to make superficial conclusions about the complex issues at play in this year’s Hyde Park debate, the comments of the three professors made it clear that they do not (and can not?) passively wait for the library to collect or link to content they need. I tweeted that how those three profs identify research tools and sources seems to support Rick Anderson’s side of the debate. We also got reminders (it took me a while in my career to accept this) that professors are pretty frequently fallible humans who don’t always understand the nature and economics of their own scholarly communication, and sometimes make false assumptions about research sources and strategies. An important lesson for liaisons.
In 2009, librarians from the University of Florida conducted a survey of user perceptions of ebooks, covering 28 institutions with 550 polls completed. They re-conducted the survey this year on a similar scale. The results are interesting if confusing. For example, the percentage of students who reported using ebooks decreased, even though usage of ebooks increased dramatically. Several times in this discussion-filled program (thanks to the UF librarians for letting us ask questions throughout the talk), we discussed how users often don’t know if the online content they are viewing is an ebook, article, or something else. (And really, does that lack of knowledge matter as long as the users are finding information they need?) Look for another journal article about this re-survey soon.
“With the additional demands of imminent new ACRL information literacy standards, we would like to take the opportunity to discuss deeper opportunities for collaboration among librarians, faculty, instructional designers, and students.” [from the panel description]
Gale/Cengage facilitated this panel, but the focus was squarely on public service. Georgetown University English librarian Elizabeth Van Vuuren discussed being both visible and responsive to faculty and students’ requests. She later noted the importance of managing ones time carefully (as embedded librarians learn). Elizabeth recommended targeting gateway courses, new graduate students, capstone courses, and research-intensive classes.
Sean Wernert is a faculty member of First Year of Studies, one of the colleges at Notre Dame. He is a freshmen adviser and teacher of an introduction to research class. He discussed his collaboration with librarian Leslie Morgan, a First Year Librarian who was able to design her own position. Leslie discussed getting students past their library anxiety despite being an introverted librarian herself. She talked about how liaisons should create a “brand identity” for themselves via outreach and proactive engagement. We ended with an interesting discussion of how to get libraries to focus on teaching and outreach despite sometimes old-fashioned organizational cultures.
Adam Murray, Dean & Associate Professor of the Murray State University Libraries, described their “big data” assessment of specific library users (students) and retention. They tracked individual students logging in to library computers, accessing e-resources via the proxy server, and participating in library and research instruction (through sign-in sheets or class roles – I’m not sure which), and then worked in those students’ retention status. Adam has provided a link to his slides from the program page.
He describes this big and complex study as direct measures of retention, as opposed to lamer indirect measures like looking at student learning outcomes. General conclusion: “library users are twice as likely to be retained as non-users” (slide 20). The most impactful activities involve library instruction (slide 24). Adam said it took two years to get this data, yikes, but hopefully other libraries will run their own studies to see if similar results are found.
Jennifer Bazeley, Interim Head of Technical Services and Aaron Shrimplin, Associate Dean, at the Miami University Libraries analyzed usage of several big deal packages of ebooks (Wiley, Oxford, and Springer) purchased through OhioLINK. They provided data on the Wiley ebooks, which have no DRM restrictions.
19% of their Wiley titles had at least once use, similar to usage from other packages. 25% of the used Wiley titles accounting for 80% of downloads. 17% of all downloads came from 3 titles, all textbooks. (Can you tell where this analysis is going?) It was hard to do much subject-level analysis given the different number of ebooks by subject and the different number of students per major.
Miami’s conclusion? The cost of the package wasn’t worthwhile. Given some budget issues at the university, the library will be considering alternative strategies for buying ebooks. There was an interesting discussion about the role of indexing and discovery tools in driving ebook use.
That’s it for this year in Charleston.