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A group of business librarians and vendors are going to be working together to propose some programs at the Charleston Conference this fall. There will also be a vendor-funded social or two.

Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor

Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor

This is an annual conference on publishing, vendors, scholarly communication, open access, open education resources, and user behavior*. Like LOEX, Charleston is a mid-sized, high-quality conference providing three days of rich programming. Its schedule evolves a little each year, which keeps things fresh and librarian-centered. There is only one day of exhibiting, so for the rest of the conference, the publisher and vendor reps are freed to attend and even contribute to programs, which usually leads to deeper discussions of issues and opportunities.

Over the last few years, a small number of business librarians have started to get together for informal chats. Last year, there was a “lively lunch” discussion with four of us as well as vendor friends John Quealy (S&P Global) and Dan Gingert (PrivCo). Nora Wood also provided a lively lunch with a colleague on liaison issues. More business vendors have exhibited in the past few years.

For 2017, at least seven business librarians will probably be working together to submit a few programs:

  • Betsy Clementson (Tulane)
  • Cynthia Cronin-Kardon (University of Pennsylvania)
  • Heather Howard (Purdue)
  • Lauren Reiter (Penn State)
  • Corey Seeman (University of Michigan)
  • Nora Wood (University of South Florida)
  • And me

We might invite a few vendors to speak with us too, depending on the topics and formats we come up with. Three vendors have offered to host social gatherings in 2017. This is a wonderful historic and walkable city for food and drink.

So we encourage more business librarians, publishers, and vendors to attend, discuss, debate, and socialize. And submit programs!

Please contact any of us with questions about this conference.

 

*Yes, its official subtitle is “Issues in Book and Serial Acquisitions,” but that is a historical legacy and so you shouldn’t hold that subtitle against it. LOEX has a funny full name too!

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New space for the plenary sessions

New space for the plenary sessions — I liked it

Last time, I reported on the business librarian/business vendor discussion. Here are notes from a few other programs I attended at the Charleston Conference in early November.

Liaison Librarians in the Know: Methods for Discovering Faculty Research and Teaching Needs

Nora Wood (Business Librarian) and Melanie Griffin (Special Collections Librarian) of the University of South Florida led this “Lively Lunch” discussion:

Using a case study of a liaison re-envisioning project at a large, research-intensive public university as the framework for this session, we will discuss methods for determining the curriculum and research needs of faculty across disciplinary boundaries and ways for promoting library resources and services to departments across campus. [from the program description]

Nora is a new business librarian. Melanie is also the English Liaison. Nora is teaching a one-credit class for first year students on making the transition to college. As an aside, she noted that her teaching experience is helping her better understand the needs and experience of freshmen.

The USF librarians discussed how their library is re-envisioning their liaison model in response to faculty needs. In the process, they are discovering challenges in better understanding faculty research and instructional needs. USF is a fast-growing campus with 50,000 students, 42,000 of which are based on the main campus. But they only have 13 liaisons! (I complain that our liaison count has not grown as the UNCG student body and number of UNCG librarians have grown, but maybe our staffing level here is not as disappointing as I tend to think.)

Their environmental scan indicated that project and service learning classes are on the rise, with fewer classes writing traditional research papers (that would be good news to me!) They also examined usage data, interviewed administrators, and assembled lists of faculty publications. The USF librarians decided their questions should be tailored to the audience (administrators v. faculty, etc.) and should not be library-centric.

The USF librarians then pondered how to use this data to take action, and how to better communicate liaison services to faculty and academic departments.

One discussion point from the lively lunch participants: segment the researchers: untenured, tenured, named chairs, graduate students.

The USF liaisons identified areas of emphasis on campus:

  1. Freshmen success (retention)
  2. QEP
  3. More online classes
  4. Instruction still the emphasis, not research (according to the administrators, at least).

So action items taken or planned:

  • Textbook affordability project
  • Creating a first-year experience librarian position
  • Assisting with online classes
  • Asking to join more campus committees

Going forward, the questions for the liaisons include:

  • How to share all this collected data?
  • How to incorporate all this into daily liaison work?
  • How to measure if they are meeting current research and instruction needs?

Nora and Melanie alternated summaries of the USF experience with assigning us small group discussions. We ended with a final discussion involving everyone. Key points made:

  • Should do targeted outreach, instead of trying to target everyone. You will get better returns on your time.
  • Tap into campus goals, ex. the USF goal of 100% employment after graduation. Support that goal in any way you can. (Nora is already working with the Career Services Center.)
  • Is this research into campus needs a one-time project or ongoing? (A sustainable project? When does the ROI for learning something new get too low?)

Seeing that Students Succeed: Rising Expectations and the Library’s Role in Teaching and Learning

Kate Lawrence (Vice President, User Research, EBSCO Information Services) and Roger C. Schonfeld (Director, Library and Scholarly Communication Program, Ithaka S+R) led a discussion based on Ithaka S+R’s latest US Faculty Survey and recent research from Ebsco’s User Research Group.

Ithaka’s main finding is that “In recent years, expectations have increased not only for the library to demonstrate its impact on students but for universities to increase retention, progression, graduation, and later-life outcomes”. Ebsco studied “student research practices and the challenges they face, as well as the kinds of librarian-faculty partnerships that are effective in supporting students.” [quotes from the program description]

Much of this is not new to folks following trends in liaison roles. We could compare some of these findings to the ideas expressed at Nora Wood and Melanie Griffin’s Lively Luncheon (see above).

Roger’s study asked professors by type of school (4-year, masters, doctoral) to identify the most important functions of an academic library. He presented summary graphs. Information literacy was identified as the most important library function at both 4-year schools and masters-level schools. For doctoral schools, the functions of archiving, information literacy, providing access to research (ex. subscriptions), and supporting research were ranked very close. But over time, information literacy is growing in emphasis for all types of schools.

Kate described her unit’s ongoing ethnographic study of students and faculty in the U.S., U.K., and China. U.S. students tend to research and write papers using “microbursts of activities” rather than a steady amount of work over time.

Students’ research behavior is driven by efficiency. Some compared their research strategies to finding shortcuts to finish a level in gaming. Meanwhile, faculty research strategies are often driven by tradition. Adjunct instructors often feel left out but want library support.

The most impactful role of librarians in influencing student behavior is when the librarian is in the classroom teaching research alongside the professor.

There was some audience discussion. There are many models of embedded librarianship, but sustainability of that work remains a concern. It’s necessary to prioritize which classes to target.

There is a need for more assessment strategies to link library usage to student success and retention.

Several librarians expressed frustration with students who avoid reading scholarly journal articles, or don’t read past the abstract. I suggested (based on some interesting discussions I listened to at LOEX) that there is limited value in having lower-level undergraduates using peer-reviewed research articles in first place. Those young college students don’t have a background in the specialized, intellectual concepts (and jargon) used within an academic discipline, and certainly don’t have an understanding of  scholarly research methodologies, especially statistical analyses used so often in social science and natural science research. More appropriate sources would be feature articles in intelligent magazines like the Atlantic or the Economist.

Rolling On or Getting Rolled Over? Introducing New Functional Specializations in Academic Libraries

Rachel Fleming-May (Associate Professor, School of Information Sciences; University of Tennessee) and Jill Grogg (Licensing Program Strategist, LYRASIS, previously an electronic resources librarian) discussed how “individual functional specializations develop as sub-professions of academic librarianship.” They also compared “findings from large-scale surveys of librarians in two areas of specialization: Electronic Resources Management and Assessment.” [They noted that the Library Assessment Conference was going on at the same time up in D.C.]

Much of the discussion focused on how these specialists grow their skills and gain professional development. Rachel and Jill provided a bit of history. A decade ago, many of these functional specialists did not have a MLS, but now most do.

Rachel summarized a 2009-10 survey of ER librarians. The favorite method of professional development of these librarians was consulting with counterparts. They compared that survey to a 2015-16 survey of assessment librarians. The main tasks of these librarians was writing reports. Professional development focused on collaboration, but conferences and publications were also important.

The audience asked questions about other specialist roles, like first-year instruction or student success librarians. Are those also functional specialists? The speakers thought those roles overlapped with instruction librarians. They emphasized that functional specialists are based on specialized knowledge, but could be focused on public service, such as data service librarians. Someone noted that assessment librarians also need skills in telling stories and conducting ethnographic research.

I was interested in learning how functional specialists in these emerging areas do professional development. The discussion of definitions isn’t very important IMO. All functional specialists need development support, and the public service functional specialists need to collaborate with their local subject liaisons (and vice versa) to work their magic across campus.

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Catching up

Thanksgiving break has begun, but the library is open today (Wednesday) and I was actually eager to come in to work to clean up my desktop, go out for Greek food for lunch with friends, and do a bit of writing.

Between last Friday and yesterday, the search committee for the professor of international marketing conducted nine interviews of candidates via Webex. We allotted an hour to each interview. So that was a lot of time to spend while also covering last-minute research consultations. But I had my last one-shot instruction session last week Monday, and submitted two long USASBE workshop proposals before their last week Tuesday deadline, so now my stress level is pretty low. Those might be subjects for future blog posts, but first I want to write about what the business librarians and vendors were up to at the Charleston Conference in early November.

Business vendors & business librarians at the Charleston Conference

Two years ago, five business librarians gathered in the late afternoon at the Charleston Conference to share notes. We expressed an interest in having business librarianship programs each year at the conference. Last year, I think there was another informal get-together (I didn’t go to Charleston that time). But this spring four business librarians and two business vendors worked together on a “lively lunch” discussion proposal, which was accepted.

The Charleston Conference meets in Charleston S.C. in very early November. As I’ve written before, I really like this conference for allowing publishers, vendors, and librarians to participate together throughout the conference, rather than banishing the vendors to the exhibit hall the entire time. The programming is high quality and varied (plenaries, panels, lively lunch discussions, posters, lightning rounds, Shark Tank-type pitches (new this year), parties, and dine-arounds). The conference sites are close together. And even though collections are now a minor part of our liaison roles here at UNCG (as covered in my “liaison reorganization” thread), there is enough programming regarding liaison roles and scholarly communication advocacy that I stay interested. Plus business content!

The title of our program was ““Why business content subscriptions can drive us crazy, and what to do about it: A dialogue with business librarians, business vendors, and the audience on best practices and solutions”.

The librarians on the panel included:

  • Cynthia Cronin-Kardon(University of Pennsylvania/Wharton School/Lippincott Library)
  • Betsy Clementson(Tulane/Freeman School/Turchin Library)
  • Corey Seeman(University of Michigan/Ross School/Kresge Library)
  • And me (a business librarian based in a general library, unlike the others)

The vendors on the panel included:

  • John Quealy(S&P Global)
  • Dan Gingert(PrivCo)

Our program description is below if you are interested. The four librarians are writing a conference proceedings article (due December 1) that will be openly available. I’ll post a link to that article when it becomes available.

Our Lively Luncheon in the Gold Ballroom

Our Lively Luncheon in the Gold Ballroom

The Charleston Conference “lively lunches” are intended to be discussions, not presentations, in the midday time slot. Some folks do bring a lunch but most of the attendees ate before or after. We were assigned the large Gold Ball Room in the Francis Marion Hotel. While we did arrange chairs into a couple of concentric circles, this was a challenging location given the room’s size. There was no portable mic, so folks sitting in the back had to listen carefully to hear everyone. But it worked out fine.

Around 40 folks attended. About 1/3rd of those folks were vendor representatives: in addition to S&P and PrivCo, Bureau van Dijk, InfoGroup, OCLC, Oxford University Press, Ebsco, and ProQuest representatives attended – and many, as we hoped, participated in the discussion. The librarians included other business librarians, electronic resources librarians, and collection development librarians.

[One of the business librarians in the house was Nora Wood from the University of South Florida. The previous day, Nora and a colleague led a lively lunch about liaison outreach. It was an excellent and useful discussion. I’ll provide a summary of it and some other liaison-centered Charleston programs in my next post, hopefully next week.]

Below is a summary of points made in our discussion. Many vendors and librarians thought the discussion was very useful and agreed that we should try to submit business content programming every year to the Charleston Conference. Bureau van Dijk even offered to host a social next year (thank you, BvD friends!). So we will see what we can make happen next time. If you have interest in attending Charleston but have questions about its value, logistics, etc., or want to share a programming idea, please let any of us know.

Summary of points

As you probably know, it can be hard to take notes about a program you are in the middle of. So I’m sorry if this summary seems fragmentary. I promise that the conference proceedings article will be more detailed. This summary reflects comments from both librarian and vendors. It was a frank, open, friendly discussion that never turned into an “us versus them” discourse. Betsy’s role in the discussion was to summarize the exchange in the form of best practices. Most of these points are thanks to Betsy.

  • Open, clear, honest communication between business librarians and vendors is key.
  • Librarians need to understand our users’ research needs AND need to protect our subscriptions, limiting access as much as we can to authorized users AND authorized usage.
  • Vendors need to understand the access challenges of serving a business school or an entire campus. Vendors also need to understand the typical academic calendar and patterns of database usage. For example, for some subscription content, most of the usage comes in one short time period within the fall/and spring semester.
  • And of course, vendors need to understand the budget challenges many of our campuses go through every year.
  • We talked about potential abuse of our academic licenses. Student consulting projects, experiential learning, tech transfer support, and internships are blurring the lines between academic and corporate use. In general, the librarians emphasized that we need to tell our students to share their summaries of the research in our databases for such projects (well, internships may have additional issues) but not to share the downloaded content.
  • In general, business librarians should educate our students about database licensing restrictions as part of our information literacy or “information has value” discussions. Cite the university honor code.
  • Many vendors need to put more effort into providing standardized usage data (ex. Project COUNTER).
  • Both librarians AND vendors complained about vendors sending corporate licensing terms to academic libraries. One vendor says that the legal team of his company always starts with a corporate version, despite his efforts to create an academic template for the legal team to start with for those customers. (So complaints of bureaucracy are not limited to us academics!)
  • Law librarians have many of the same issues with legal vendors, so there was a suggestion for business librarians and law librarians to talk about our shared issues.

Program description

Business databases have a reputation for being expensive, having problematic licensing terms, and generally being a pain to work with. This reputation is particularly common among collection development and e-resources librarians in general libraries. In addition to affordability, issues can include licensing restrictions to specific campus populations and locations, requirements that users create personal accounts, severe download restriction s, not working with consortiums, and shutting down summer access to prevent usage by student interns. On the other hand, business vendors must design their products and licensing to work with many types of customers: corporations, government agencies, consultants, and academia. Their content is often very expensive to produce, and vendors sometimes have to license content from third-party providers that have their own pricing and licensing issues.

To help better understand why business databases can be challenging to work with, and to propose recommendations on how libraries and business vendors can best work together, a group of business librarians and business vendors will lead this lively lunch discussion. The librarians will represent both business libraries and general libraries, and will present case studies representing different types and sizes of campuses. The vendors will represent specialized business content publishers. Together we will discuss how business information is different, why business vendors behave differently, examples of challenges in working with business vendors, examples of challenges in working with libraries, and recommendations & best practices. We will invite audience participation throughout.

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A summer goal continues to be getting caught up on professional readings since last winter break. Blogging about readings helps me not rush through them. Hopefully these summaries and occasional responses are useful for other folks too. Topics relate to liaison work and business librarianship.

1.

Connect, build, develop: Forming effective liaison strategies through peer mentoring and partnership.
Cayce Van Horn. (2016). Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship, 21:2, 89-94
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08963568.2016.1140530

From the new business librarian at Auburn University. But the article is very useful for any subject liaison new to the job.

Cayce “became the business and economics liaison at Auburn University during the summer of 2015. It was an unexpected change in focus [business is not her background], and my initial reaction was a feeling of fear.” But she benefited from having a mentor:

“Bridget Farrell, the current marketing liaison and previous business and economics librarian at Auburn University, has served as a peer mentor as I make the transition from instructor to liaison, and together we developed a plan to help me connect with faculty and students in my subject area, build effectual and productive relationships with them, and develop my own skills and knowledge in this new role.”

(In 2013 Farrell wrote “New Kid on the Block: The Troubles and Triumphs of Being a New Business Librarian” — see https://liaisonlife.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/reading/).

Cayce discusses planning (“the importance of reaching out to subject-area faculty was immediately noted as a top priority”), collection development (book ordering & weeding), and subject training. Cayce and Bridget drafted a learning plan for Cayce that included taking Celia Ross’s Business Reference 101 class, reading Ross’s Making Sense of Business Reference, attending webinars, and getting involved in BRASS.

Through the mentoring relationship, Cayce gained much confidence in her skills. Lessons learned:

  • Non-business research and teaching skills can be applied to business liaisoning.
  • It is ok for business librarians to need some time to explore and research a difficult research request, and get back to the patron later.
  • Yes, some questions are unanswerable.

Once the fall semester began, Cayce and Bridget implemented an effective outreach campaign to faculty. They began with an associate dean of the business college, which led to attending an executive meeting of the college (deans and department heads), which led to meetings with departments and department heads. By the end of this series of meetings, Cayce was entertaining faculty research questions and requests for instruction workshops for classes. She also targeted new faculty via email and had many fruitful responses.

Cayce concludes:

“As a result of this peer-mentoring experience, I have learned to draw upon my own strengths while benefitting from the expertise of others, a process that embodies the true spirit of collaboration and support while fostering an environment of successful and engaging librarianship”

2.

Business librarians and new academic program review
Kerry Wu & Heidi Senior. (2016). Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship, 21:2, 114-134.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08963568.2016.1140547

This article is also useful for any subject liaison. It provides excellent suggestions for outreach and relationship building for any liaison initiative.

These Portland-based librarians have been busy supporting new program reviews and surveyed the profession on such involvement. From the abstract:

“Although more than 60% of the respondents thought that librarians should play a part in the proposal process, more than 65% of them indicated that they were never involved….The authors held in depth interviews with [nine] survey participants reporting higher-than average involvement to find out about their strategies for success.”

They identify a challenging (but common?) situation:

“The implied expectation is for the librarian to provide an affirmative statement that ‘library resources are adequate.’ Sometimes librarians are caught in an awkward position when the expected statement is not true.”

The article provides a literature review, survey methodology, and findings. There is discussion of library funding limitations and having to “make-do” with existing resources to support the new subject area.

Based on the nine interviews, the authors provide a list of success factors for getting very involved with new program applications. Examples: being held in high regard by the business faculty; and having strong existing relationships with the faculty. The “strategies to improve librarian participation” focus on building trust and relationships with faculty and certainly apply to any kind of liaison work, ex. teaching, consulting, and scholarly communication advocacy.

One interviewee emphasized proactive engagement, as the authors summarized:

 “Insert yourself wherever possible,” one participant advised, “I was pretty good in terms of pushing the envelope…. I always try and make the library sticky.” He was willing to negotiate and the following summed up his philosophy:

But often it is very definitely [sic] you cannot wait for them to come to you, you have to go to them and be willing to be “insertive” and make some suggestions going, “You know, I think the library can help you or we could help you with this, let’s talk about it…”

Ah, some new synonyms for embedded librarianship?

  • Sticky librarian
  • Insertive librarian

Hmm wouldn’t recommend an unfiltered web search for those phrases! Haha

Another good suggestion from an interview: “gave [faculty] a talk on ‘these are things that you can use me for’”.

3.

Using rubrics for assessing information literacy in the finance classroom: a collaboration
Elizabeth M. Mezick & Lorene Hiris. (2016). Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship, 21:2, 95-113.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08963568.2016.1169970

This article presents rubrics to assess ACRL info lit standards (not the frameworks) through a company and industry information assignment that uses a handful of popular business databases. The full assignment is provided.

Transition to the great ACRL controversy of summer 2016…

4.

Framework or Standards? It doesn’t matter
Blog post by Lane Wilkinson
https://senseandreference.wordpress.com/2016/06/29/framework-or-standards-it-doesnt-matter/

A calm discussion about the current frameworks v. standards brouhaha. Refreshing.

Another thoughtful response but in a different tone: http://betterlibraryleaders.com/2016/06/30/reframing-our-standards-initial-thoughts-on-information-literacy-in-a-post-standards-framework/

5.  

Why the “Research Paper” Isn’t Working
Blog post by Barbara Fister
https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/library_babel_fish/why_the_research_paper_isn_t_working

Yes, this post is old, but I reread it in May after returning from LOEX. I get tired of hearing librarians only discussing the “research paper” as an outcome of student research work.

From near the end:

“If you want students to learn about a topic and be able to synthesize information effectively, fine – but don’t call it research. Turn it into a presentation, an informational brochure, or a Wikipedia article. If you want students to make an argument, start from something they know and care about, something that matters to them and about which they can hold an informed opinion. If you want them to read and understand scholarly material, focus on close reading and have the class jointly prepare an annotated edition. If you want them to write academic prose, wait until they know enough about the discipline to know what they’re talking about and how to ask a meaningful question about it.”

We could add a sentence like “If you want your students gain experience working in teams, as so many grownups have to do in their professional and volunteer work, structure the project to be done within teams.”

6.

Small changes in teaching: the minutes before class: 3 simple ways you can set up the day’s learning before the metaphorical bell rings
James M. Lang, Nov. 15 2015. Chronicle of Higher Education
http://chronicle.com/article/Small-Changes-in-Teaching-The/234178

Excellent suggestions! Yes, it’s easy to spend all your time before class begins getting the libguide and Canvas on screen, and writing notes on the whiteboard. The “create wonder” suggestion is certainly one I should be using more often, like a new Statista infographic, or interesting results from a SimplyMap map.

7.

Don’t get married to the results: managing library change in the age of metrics (presentation)
Corey Seeman, from the ABLD-EBSLG-APBSLG Joint Meeting 2016 in Singapore
http://tinyurl.com/ABLD16Corey

Corey is the head of the University of Michigan business school Library (Kresge Library). His library has gone through a major physical change, which had impact on the nature of metrics collected by the library. He makes an important point about our complex customer base:

“Library challenge [with assessment] is that we have multiple stakeholders and they have different needs:

  • Faculty needs –scholarly journals, articles, books , datasets
  • Student needs –articles, company & industry information, market reports
  • Community –Mostly similar to student needs”

He warns that “Numbers have no intrinsic value –they can show just about anything you want.” Also: “And while your indicators might be fine –it might not reveal the threats that are all about you.”

There’s more about library change, and telling your story (be proactive, talk to your stakeholders, and rewrite your mission as needed.)

8.

A Response to “Embedded Librarianship: A Critical Perspective”
Blog post by Robert Farrell
https://embeddedlibrarian.com/2016/05/27/a-response-to-embedded-librarianship-a-critical-perspective-by-robert-farrell/

A thoughtful rebuttal of a polemic piece about the limits of embedding as a co-teaching librarian. Robert notes that the proposed alternative is clearly another type of embedded librarianship – proactive involvement with the curriculum, utilizing strong relationships with faculty. A bit ironic.

9.

Rejection burnout–a guest post
by Kaitlin Springmier
https://librarianburnout.com/2016/01/26/rejection-burnout-a-guest-post-by-kaitlin-springmier/

A guest post from a resident librarian at the University of Chicago. (I’m a little concerned about why a resident librarian fresh out of library school would be writing on this topic). She presents “5 tips I’ve learned that can greatly reduce the rejection of new ideas or the burnout you feel after hearing ‘no.’” Interestingly, tip #4 goes against recommendations made in other posts at this blog, ex. maintaining work-life balance and enjoying “me time”.

10.

Some interesting articles in the journal Against the Grain: Linking Publishers, Vendors, & Librarians from the Dec 2015-Jan 2016 & February 2016 issues

Negotiation Skills 101: Where Is That Course Given?

Since no one gets a chance to take a negotiation skills class in library school, consultant Michael Gruenberg lays out a 4-point preparation plan involving objectives, timetable, team, and strategy. Gruenberg authored the 2014 book Buying and Selling Information: A Guide for Information Professionals and Salespeople to Build Mutual Success (Information Today).

Cooperation is Key:  How Publishers and Libraries are Working Together to Achieve Common Goals

Michael Arthur (University of Alabama) and Stacy Sieck (Taylor & Francis) discuss their two organizations working together to provide workshops on open access and how to get published. Favorite quote:

“More recently, however, there’s been a gradual shift away from publishers being seen as adversarial to libraries, and there’s now a stronger sense that improving these relationships is important, if not imperative, to the success of both parties…But developing these relationships doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process that starts with building trust and creating open and honest lines of communication.”

Give the People What They Want — or What They Need?

The often provocative and always interesting Rick Anderson (University of Utah) wrote on this old debate. He contrasts using data to learn what users actually want (which he calls “science”) versus what our patrons should want according to us librarians (“religion”). Providing what they want is our old service model, while advocating for what they should want is our education model. He asserts that

“the first option kind of grates on us as professionals; the second is fraught with frustration (since changing people is notoriously difficult) and political peril (since the people we’re trying to change are also people whose support is essential for our professional survival).”

The education route also risks “alienating our stakeholders”.

I don’t usually get into philosophical writing on librarian issues, but I was thinking about how these ideas might apply to a business librarian working with business faculty and students. Maybe a future post…

11.

Dread data no more: crash course in data visualization for librarians (presentation)
Liz Johns. LOEX 2016.
https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1onlZqJOuYc4eXv0Lh3Q3RkmxhK2EXl00rtpAhsRiOD4/edit?usp=sharing%27

Liz is the Librarian for Education at Johns Hopkins University. This presentation is a good introduction to the topic. It includes polls in which the audience is asked to pick the better representation of the data, which we readers can also participate in by reviewing the slides. Nice interactive touch.

12.

BusinessDecision: demographic and expenditure data for small business owners [product review]
Trevor L. Winn & Steven Assarian. Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship, (2016, May) 21:2, 175-181.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08963568.2016.1169910

A detailed, expert review of this database by two business librarians in Michigan. The Michigan State Library provides both DemographicsNow and BusinessDecision to libraries in the state. This review well illustrates two really important aspects of database reviews: talking about the source data, and comparing the product to competing products. It usually frustrates me when a shorter review in a publication like Library Journal makes no mention of competitors. That really reduces the value of the review to me, since due to our flat budgets (in a good year), we only get new subscriptions by cancelling existing ones.

But be careful making the comparisons:

“With its extensive consumer data, business and people directory, and mapping features, DemographicsNow is the prime competitor to BusinessDecision when considering the needs of small business owners. Although SimplyMap most closely resembles BusinessDecision’s scope and map-centric interface, DemographicsNow offers more data points relevant to entrepreneurs.”

No, SimplyMap offers data points just as relevant to entrepreneurs as DemographicsNow, and even much more so if you subscribe to SimplyMap modules like MRI and SimmonsLocal. That’s in part why NC LIVE has provided SimplyMap to this state for 8 years now (although not the SimmonsLocal module). My new 3-minute SimplyMap video uses entrepreneurship examples.

13 (last one):

Transitioning to 100% Business E-Books: The Case of a Large University Business Collection
Wahib Nasrallah. Ticker: The Academic Business Librarianship Review, 1:2 (2016)
http://ticker.mcgill.ca/article/view/14

Wahib is the Senior Business Librarian at the University of Cincinnati. I’m not sure if I’ve read an ebook study before that focused on business ebooks. He writes of his library’s successful transition to mostly ebook purchasing. Regarding why the business school was happy with this change, he writes:

“In many ways, we forget that we are in the knowledge business, clinging to old formats while the world around us requires adaptation and change….Book publishing is a slow process, and the transporting of a physical book to a patron isn’t always feasible…The practice of housing print books in mammoth structures with very little circulation statistics to show for is neither efficient nor effective and has not served the goals of business research.”

The library worked with YBP to create notifications of new e-books only. He notes that some publishers have crazy ebook pricing strategies, and presents data on the number of ebooks on business topics published by core business publishers (see the table on p. 3).

Wahib asserts that “Librarians have always shown a preference for selecting books rather than leasing collections from aggregators (Vasileiou, 2012)” but I don’t think that’s true. We like the Safari package for updating its collections of tech books every year, keeping the collection fresh and relevant.

Their library began using DDA in 2012. There has been an increase in titles triggered for purchase and total spending since then. But the library is not using DDA-only:

“The DDA plan is supplemented by minimal print book purchases from those publishers who resist e-publishing. It is also supplemented by a few e-book purchases for books not available on the DDA platform. We are also retaining our publisher-based e-book collections…In 2013/2014, the e-book collection totaled 1,710 DDA titles and 2,937 titles from other sources.. In the same year, we purchased [only!] 89 print books from publishers who do not supply electronic copies for libraries.

Wahib concludes that their “transformation has received much praise and little to no complaints.” A useful case study.

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Marla, Richard, & Steve presenting at NCLA 2015

Marla, Richard, & Steve presenting at NCLA 2015

Marla Means, Richard Moniz, and I presented at NCLA 2015 today on “The Expanding Role of the Academic Liaison: Balancing Subject Versus Functional Skills” (PDF).

[Summary of the final discussion with the audience]

Marla introduced the topic and provided definitions. Richard discussed the Johnson & Wales University Library in Charlotte, NC as a small library case study. I summarized the interesting experiment at the University of Arizona of having only functional liaisons, and briefly presented UNCG’s team model of subject v. functional teams.

Good comments, ideas, and questions from the audience. Thanks for everyone who came.

There are some cites and links at the end of the PDF.

Abstract:

“For liaison services, subject knowledge used to be enough. Now functional skills are increasingly important — academic libraries are expanding their outreach and advocacy efforts into data curation, scholarly communication, information literacy, distance education services, etc. How should libraries balance these two types of liaison roles? Should libraries hire functional specialists to partner with the subject liaisons, or somehow train subject liaisons to pick up the needed functional expertise? And how should these functional and subject specialists be organized and managed? Two librarians representing a small and large library and a LIS student doing an independent study on liaison trends will lead a discussion on these questions. With help from the participants, we will conclude with suggested best practices.”

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Catching up:

This is spring break for the UNC system, and spring-like temperatures have finally arrived. Flowers are budding and pretty birds are foraging the new growth. The library is quiet as expected but there are still some business faculty, graduate students, and one Export Odyssey student team working on their research. It’s been a nice break before some extra teaching next week, and then ACRL the week after that.

Our ACRL program will be “New Models for New Roles: Creating Liaison Organizational Structures that Support Modern Priorities” (#ACRL2015liaisons). I will be introducing the topic and then our three main speakers:

  • Jutta Seibert (Coordinator for Academic Integration and History Liaison Librarian, Villanova University)
  • Margaret Burri (Associate Director for Academic Liaison and Librarian for History of Science and Technology, Johns Hopkins University)
  • Lynda Kellam (Data Services & Government Information Librarian and Adjunct Lecturer in Political Science, UNC Greensboro)

The event is Saturday, March 28 at 9:45 AM in Portland Ballroom 253 of the Convention Center.  UNCG looked at the Villanova and Johns Hopkins models of centralized liaison organization as benchmarks for our own liaison shake-up. Jutta and I met at LOEX last year but Margaret and I have only chatted on the phone. So it will be fun to all meet up in person. We plan on leaving plenty of time for discussions with the libraries who attend. (Look here for a recap by April).

My wife Carol from Wake Forest University is speaking at the same day and time — in the adjacent room! (If we yell maybe we could hear each other through the ballroom’s movable wall.) Her program is “Weed it and Reap: Successful Strategies for Re-shaping Collections“; she is working with librarians from St. Olaf College and Macalester College.

I didn’t read this new article in time to include it in my last post: “Teaching students what we do: A collection management course” by Tony Horava, in the March 2015 issue of College & Research Libraries News. Tony describes a LIS collections class firmly grounded in the modern realities of library collection management. He also describes some very interesting active learning assignments for the students.

I took advantage of today’s quiet to finish work on…

Today’s topic:

Sort of an epilogue to our recent liaison reorganization. Our AD of Public Services, Kathy Crowe (also a liaison) asked us to define our liaisons roles as a tool for planning, evaluation, assessment, and recruitment. Creating our liaison roles document proved to be quick and easy compared to our long reorg process.

Now this is not innovative work on our part – other libraries have worked on and published very thoughtful strategic planning documents on liaison roles. The main theme seems to be liaison work moving from a focus on collections to a focus on engagement. The published history of this theme was discussed in the RUSA Quarterly article “Outreach Activities for Librarian Liaisons” by Isabel D. Silver (see last post, item 3).

Examples:

Three of us –colleagues Mark Schumacher, Jenny Dale, and me – volunteered to start the process of creating this document. We reviewed the Minnesota, Duke, and Washington documents. We really liked Duke’s use of best practices. Washington provided similar examples if you click through to the “More information at…” pages.

Within an hour, we came up with five roles:

  • Outreach & Engagement
  • Teaching & Learning
  • Research Services
  • Collections
  • Scholarly Communications

We decided our document would include defining aspects of each role as well as best practice examples.

A few weeks later we met with most of the liaisons at one of our monthly, hour-long liaison workshops, where all subject and functional team members are invited to a discussion on prearranged topics. Folks knew we were gathering to draft our roles document. Afterwards Mark, Jenny, and I would clean it up and email it out for further suggestions and edits.

We divided the assembled folks into five groups and gave each group a sheet with one of the five roles on top. The sheet had two sections: one labeled “define this role”, the other “best practices for this role”.

Each group spent 15 minutes working on their definition. Then we shared. The most interesting idea came from the “Outreach and Engagement” team, who said they struggled to define that topic independently of the other four. (Jenny, Mark, and I had discussed that problem earlier.) That group proposed we remove “outreach” as a role and instead cover that topic in the introduction of our proposed document.

Then we had the five groups pass their sheet to the next group clockwise, and work on some best practices for the role listed on their new sheet.

We concluded with a discussion of some of the best practices. The workshop went well: lots of energy and collaboration and no philosophical objections. (I thought we would have some word-smithing discussions about the roles, like “teaching & learning”.)

Then Mark, Jenny, and I typed up the ideas on the five sheets, standardized the verb tenses, and wrote an introduction. You can see below how we handled “outreach & engagement”. We received a few suggestions after emailing out the first draft. Today I emailed the second draft to library administration for final approval. I’m guessing the admins won’t ask for significant changes.

Liaison Roles
UNCG University Libraries
March 2015

Introduction

The roles of library liaisons (subject specialists assigned to academic disciplines) continue to evolve. This document describes both ongoing and new roles in order to assist with planning, evaluation, assessment, and recruitment. Best practices for each role are included to provide concrete examples of effective work.

Four functional roles of liaisons

Liaison Roles Matrix


Central nature of outreach & engagement

The ethos of liaison work is a mindset of outreach to and proactive engagement with UNCG students, faculty, staff and administrators. Liaisons might also work with alumni, other researchers, and community members. This outreach mindset permeates all four functional liaison roles described below.

General responsibilities of liaison work

  • Develop strong working relationships with faculty
  • Seek opportunities to collaborate and establish partnerships in research, teaching, advocacy, etc.
  • Monitor trends in teaching and scholarship in assigned disciplines
  • Promote library services and resources
  • Assess both user needs and liaison services
  • Engage in continual education in librarianship and assigned academic disciplines

1. Teaching and Learning

  • Provide information literacy and research instruction to distance and residential classes via guest instruction, teaching or co-teaching credit-classes, online learning objects, etc.
  • Work with instructors to integrate information literacy and research skills into the curriculum
  • Create and maintain effective library guides, subject portals, tutorials, videos, and other learning objects
  • Design graded and ungraded research assignments in collaboration with instructors that incorporate information literacy goals
  • Assess student learning of information literacy concepts using the University Libraries’ “Student Learning Outcomes” and via multiple assessment methods
  • Identify core classes and curricula that would benefit from research instruction and/or learning objects, and contact the teachers involved

Best practices

  • Developing teaching and assessment skills through conferences, workshops, team-teaching, observing others teach, etc.
  • Discussing teaching experiences and ideas with other librarians
  • Reading new and revised syllabi
  • Reading students’ research projects or observing final presentations for assessment
  • Examining other libraries’ research guides, tutorials, videos, etc. for fresh approaches and new ideas

2. Research Services

  • Provide customized reference and research services through email, phone, chat, and individual and group consultations
  • Help staff the Information Desk and AskUs online service
  • Make referrals to other librarians, SCUA, campus units, etc. as appropriate
  • Seek opportunities to extend services through embedded work
  • Understand database interfaces, citation management tools, and other research tools used on campus
  • Support the Reference Intern program through training and mentoring
  • Understand the research process of students and faculty

Best practices:

  • Monitoring information desk and liaison queues in LibraryH3lp
  • Applying reference interviewing strategies to research services
  • Following up with users after the initial research session
  • Investigating the research interests of faculty and graduate students in preparation for providing future research service
  • Learning new interfaces and tools through training, webinars, and self-directed learning
  • Analyzing LibStats, web logs, and other methods of data tracking to better understand user behavior and to make recommendations on how to improve our services or interfaces

3. Collections

  • Communicate with users regarding collection and research needs
  • Develop and maintain print and electronic collections for assigned subject areas
  • Manage collection funds effectively and efficiently
  • Monitor research and publishing trends in assigned subject areas
  • Contribute to accreditation reports and “new program” applications
  • Remain knowledgeable about SCUA collections and collaborate with SCUA as needed
  • Support donor connections as relevant to liaison subject areas

Best practices:

  • Discussing collection, budget, and licensing issues with faculty, administrators, and graduate students in meetings and one-on-one conversations
  • Examining UNCG-authored papers for research interests, trends, and use of research sources
  • Promoting use of Gobi alerts
  • Investigating and offering trials to new or cheaper databases
  • Supporting NC LIVE and the Carolina Consortium

4. Scholarly Communications

  • Keep current with general trends in scholarly communications, and monitor subject-specific trends
  • Educate and inform faculty, graduate students, and campus administrators about scholarly communication issues, copyright, author rights, etc.
  • Investigate and promote new avenues of scholarly communication such as open access publishing, institutional repositories, journal hosting, etc.
  • Encourage and support the writing of data management plans
  • Discover and recruit UNCG scholarly output for inclusion in the open access digital initiatives

 Best practices:

  • Encouraging faculty to submit their work to NC DOCKS
  • Attending workshops, webinars and forums sponsored by the Scholarly Communication Team, ACRL, etc.
  • Encouraging faculty to attend such workshops, webinars, and forums
  • Referring users to the Scholarly Communications Officer when appropriate

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Happy March!

1

Robert Berkman has created a new blog about business research: http://www.bestbizweb.com/thinking-out-loud . The most recent post identifies his favorite deep news archives; that post also provides an example of date-limited Google searching. Looks like a useful blog to follow.

1b

Also, Reference Head and Business Librarian Chad Boeninger from Ohio University has resumed blogging: http://libraryvoice.com/

2

Some articles from the latest issue of the Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship:

“Information Literacy in Business Education: Experiential Learning Programs” by Patrick J. Griffis (University of Nevada–Las Vegas)

Patrick provides an introduction to the subject and then provides three examples of a business librarian embedded into “university field-based consulting initiatives” as a research instructor and consultant:

  • First-year students exploring the nature of being a business student through a Domino’s Pizza challenge competition;
  • MBA students working with engineering seniors to create business plans for a design competition;
  • Student interns working with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s ExporTech service and local manufacturers to increase exports, with significant research support to the students and companies from the business librarian.

Other experiential learning programs are profiled, each demonstrating leadership from the librarian in building research instruction and consulting into the process, and through collaboration with business professors. Impressive work!

2b

“Database review: DemographicsNow Library Edition: Customized Local Market Research” by Kate Pittsley (Eastern Michigan University)

Even if you don’t subscribe to this database, this review is quite useful for explaining how certain kinds of data are collected (ex. psychographic data like Simmons or Experian’s Mosaic Market Segmentation). The review also provides a useful content comparison chart covering DemographicsNow, SimplyMap, and Business Analyst Online, including which use EASI, Experian, Mediamark/MRI, etc.

(Also from that issue of the Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship is an article from two former BLINC members, Kelly Evans & Jeanie Welch, on historical international economic data sources.)

3

From the Winter 2014 issue of RUSA Quarterly:

“Outreach Activities for Librarian Liaisons” by Isabel D. Silver (University of Florida)

This article beings with a review of how liaison work is now largely defined as engagement work, not collections work. The remainder of the article is an analysis of survey results from 28 liaison librarians. Isabel defines three phases of liaison outreach:

  • Phase I: Introductory Communications
  • Phase II: Take Action
  • Advanced Phase: Academic Collaboration And Program Evaluation

The three phases correspond to “three role phases”:

  1. For the benefit of beginning liaisons building core outreach services;
  2. For liaisons with basic experience and ready to progress to more unique and specialized services to meet the clientele needs; and
  3. For veteran liaisons who would like to develop closer partnerships with faculty and possibly involving collaborative teaching and research.

There are lots of bulleted, specific examples of outreach activity for each phase. This article provides a useful checklist to help assess the state of a liaison program.

4

You might have seen an announcement for Ticker: The Academic Business Librarianship Review, a new open-access journal published by the Academic Business Library Directors:

Ticker is a forum for the exchange of the research, best practices, and innovative thinking in business librarianship and business library management. The journal welcomes research articles, opinion pieces, member profiles, case studies, and conference reports reflecting all aspects of business librarianship.

The research articles will be peer reviewed, but not the opinion pieces, conference reports, and case studies. According to the site,

Reviewers are from the Academic Business Library Directors member institutions. Research manuscripts will be read by at least two reviewers within approximately six weeks of submission.

Authors retain copyright, but articles are published under the standard Creative Commons Attribution License that allows commercial republishing with only attribution given in return. (I would prefer a non-commercial CC license.)

Hopefully in a few months we will begin getting some interesting articles from this journal.

5

Praeger has a useful book series called “Entrepreneur’s Guide”. One of the books is The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Market Research (2012) by Anne M. Wenzel. I’ve been re-reading much of it for my ENT 530 class this semester (it’s one of the two assigned books). The book is really useful for explaining strategies for local business research (example: Ch. 7, “Estimating the Size and Growth of the Market.”) Wenzel’s book does discuss sources (emphasizing free ones, but listing pay-sources too) but her focus is much more on strategies. I would rather the students develop their critical thinking and problem solving skills using strategic applications of market data. This book really helps with that goal.

5b

A new book in this series, The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Financial Statements by David Worrell, came out in 2014. The book is organized into 5 sections:

  1. Income Statement
  2. Balance Sheet
  3. Cash Flow Statement
  4. Ratios & Analysis
  5. Managing by the Numbers [dashboards, forecasts, etc.]

Given that I don’t feel especially comfortable with financials, I look forward to reading this.

6

Finally, also on my to-read pile are these two new books, which serve as a (self-promotional) conclusion to this post.

Dianne Welsh’s new book Creative Cross-Disciplinary Entrepreneurship: A Practical Guide for a Campus-Wide Program came out in December. Dianne’s book provides a theoretical introduction to cross-campus entrepreneurship programs, but also serves as a practical handbook for starting such programs. In that regard she discusses the vital role of business librarians. There’s also a detailed summary of my ENT/GEO/LIS (and now MKT) 530 research class on page 53 (really).

The new 2nd edition of Case Studies in Global Entrepreneurship includes a chapter on “Exporting for Entrepreneurs” by  Nicholas Williamson and me. In it you’ll find a description of the curious job title my friend Nick likes to use for people like us: the “Electronic Business Reference Librarian” (p.108). This case comes out of our Export Odyssey class as well as an entrepreneurship venture we have been working on.

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