Volunteer Reporters Cover ALCTS Programs in Atlanta

ALCTS members attending Annual Conference provided these summary reports. We thank the volunteers who covered a program or preconference sponsored by ALCTS or one of its units, so that the rest of us can benefit from the presentations.



Hell and High Water: Planning for Disasters

Barbara Feldman, Illinois State University

The many facets of disaster preparation, response, and related emotional aftermath were thoroughly and thoughtfully examined in this one-and-a-half day preconference. Panel speakers shared essential information through a mixture of research-based inquiry and personal experience.

In her opening address, Sue Kellerman (Penn State University) provided the framework for emergency preparedness in a library setting. She emphasized the need for all libraries to maintain a written disaster plan that is continually revised, frequently tested, and widely distributed. She also stressed the need to train library staff in emergency procedures and basic salvage techniques and suggested how to administer a salvage operation once the immediacy of a crisis has subsided. Jeanne Drewes (Michigan State University) continued the first afternoon session with a discussion of the risk-management process. Her presentation focused on identifying potential losses, evaluating potential losses along the lines of frequency and severity, developing plans for mitigation, and determining the value of individual collections.

Lee Brawner (Metropolitan Library System, Oklahoma City) wrapped up the afternoon reflecting on the psychological impact of disasters. Brawner candidly discussed dealing with the emotional distress of a public library damaged from the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building. Securing postdisaster mental health services was discussed along with short- and long-term coping strategies.

Day two began with a look at how to return operations to normal when “normal” is a long way off. Susan Parker (California State University, Northridge) offered strategies for efficiently reestablishing library services after a disaster. Parker also discussed the administrative balancing act of managing the impacts of a disaster while simultaneously directing operations in a variety of temporary facilities. Helpful suggestions for realistic goal setting and facility reconstruction projects were outlined.

The morning’s focus then turned to various types of disaster protection for libraries. Peter Persic (Los Angeles Public Library) discussed protecting a library’s reputation and galvanizing community support in a time of crisis by establishing and maintaining a rapport with the media. Gail Todd (Marsh Advantage America) spoke to demystify insurance planning for libraries by explaining various types of coverage and by offering advice to library administrators in their dealings with insurance providers. Janice Mohlhenrich (Emory University) then returned to the importance of the written disaster plan with a detailed presentation on how to create such a document and the essential components to include.

The final panelists of the morning session shared personal accounts of disasters in their institutions. Beth Schobernd (Illinois State University) recounted numerous disasters ranging from building leaks to arson, stressing that disaster-preparedness planning is a continual process in which mitigation procedures must constantly be updated or created to accommodate the variety of potential disasters. Nancy Tessman (Salt Lake City Public Library) described two incidents involving extreme patron violence, emphasizing both the importance of staff crisis training and helping staff overcome or lessen post-traumatic stress. Alison Landers (Houston Public Library) reported on a citywide disaster that prevented immediate recovery efforts for the city’s libraries but provided a unique opportunity for library workers to help colleagues affected by the disaster on a personal level get back on their feet.

The preconference concluded with afternoon break-out sessions in which participants could ask questions of the panelists, exchange stories and ideas, and work through risk assessment worksheets with SOLINET representatives Christine Wiseman and Tina Mason.

[ TOP ]

Map Cataloging: Learning to Describe Cartographic Materials

Cheri Folkner, University of California, Los Angeles

More than eighty people participated in this one-day event on the cataloging of maps and other cartographic materials. The preconference was organized to allow those who were new to map cataloging to learn the nuts and bolts of description and access and more experienced map catalogers to learn about upcoming changes to the rules affecting the cataloging of maps and specifics about cataloging electronic cartographic materials.

Paige Andrew (Pennsylvania State University) and Susan Moore (University of Northern Iowa) began with their presentation on the physical description of cartographic materials. In a team-teaching setting that was occasionally quite lively, they presented some of the most important aspects of map cataloging description. Besides the fundamental cataloging concepts of main entry, title proper, and statement of responsibility, Moore and Andrew covered the concepts of scale and geographical coordinates. They also discussed the unique elements of cartographic resources that need to be included as notes in the bibliographic record, so that users can more readily determine whether an item will meet their needs.

Friday morning focused on subject analysis and classification. Elizabeth Mangan, formerly of the Library of Congress, covered the determination of the geographic area, the assignment of subject headings, structure of the G-schedule, call-number construction, subject cutters, and classification issues. Mangan went over in detail how to determine and construct call numbers, which not only allow cartographic items to be filed by geographic area but also allow those on similar topics to be filed together within the geographic area. Mangan’s coverage of classification issues that are often encountered by map catalogers, such as where to classify coasts, trails, and hydrographic features, prompted several discussions.

Friday afternoon the more experienced participants joined the preconference. Velma Parker (National Archives of Canada) presented expected changes in AACR2 that will affect map catalogers. The changes are expected in the 2002 amendments to be published later this year. Parker also covered some of the changes to name headings and subject headings for Canada and Canadian cities.

Grace Welch (University of Ontario) gave the final session on the cataloging of digital geospatial data. The presentation focused on explaining this data and where the descriptive data might be found in an electronic cartographic resource. Welch covered the areas of description and the MARC fields where the unique aspects of the electronic resources would be included.

The strengths of the preconference rested not only on the impressive credentials and expertise of the presenters but also on the breadth and depth of discussions that took place among participants during the sessions and breaks.

[ TOP ]

Cultivating the Human Moment in a Digital Age

Margaret Rohdy, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Edward Hallowell, Hallowell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health

Left to right: Panelists at the ALCTS President’s Program: Andrew Dillon, University of Texas at Austin; Olivia Madison, Iowa State University; Michael Gorman, California State University, Fresno; DeEtta Jones, ARL Office of Leadership and Management Services; Amy Dykeman, moderator; Edward Hallowell.

At the ALCTS President’s Program, Edward Hallowell, a psychiatrist and expert in the field of psychological and emotional well-being, spoke about the increasingly dramatic and perplexing problem of managing face-to-face moments in a digital age. Hallowell established his credentials for this audience by noting the “extraordinarily interesting set of human moments” he had encountered as an undergraduate at Widener Library’s circulation desk at Harvard.

Managers must recognize a paradox that in the midst of unbelievable electronic connectedness, there are increasing signs of interpersonal disconnectedness. We won’t return to life before e-mail, but Hallowell insisted that we pay attention to the value of the human moment of face-to-face contact and provide for it in our workplaces. Disconnection is an unintended consequence of the new tools we use to do our work; connectedness protects us and ensures trust, comfort, dedication, and perseverance—none are easily measured, but all are priceless.

In the lively discussion that followed Hallowell’s speech, there was thoughtful reflection and good humor as the four panelists (Olivia Madison, Michael Gorman, DeEtta Jones, and Andrew Dillon) and members of the audience argued with, agreed with, amplified, and provided a library context for Hallowell’s ideas. Even the certified “Internet junkies” among us found something to appreciate, as all agreed that libraries are uniquely equipped to maintain human values in the digital age. Here are a few memorable comments from the discussion:

  • There is a difference between being connected and being engaged.
  • Lack of introspection is as much a problem as lack of communication.
  • The human moment shouldn’t be capsulated for use as a management “plug-in.”
  • New tools make new kinds of connectedness and relationships possible—we need to see what their value can be.
  • Communication is composed of the events and the emotion—understanding diverse styles helps us appreciate nuances.
  • People are annoying and trivial, but cataloging rules will never let you down!
  • And as we all know . . . there’s nothing like food to bring people together.

[ TOP ]

Dirty Books: Cleaning Stacks in Libraries

Yvonne Carignan, University of Maryland

Dirty, disorganized stacks accelerate deterioration of collections and make them less accessible for users. At worst, inattention to facilities maintenance can result in wet, moldy books that require emergency salvage. In this program, four preservation professionals offered guidance for managing stacks-cleaning programs and postdisaster cleanups.

Janet Gertz (Columbia University) described the strategic use of random sample surveying to determine the impact of a new cleaning program on historically dirty and disorganized collections. Additionally, the survey served to establish benchmarks for cleanliness, to raise awareness and motivate staff to maintain clean conditions, and to compare conditions across branches to make the case for more resources. With the objective of keeping the stacks cleaner and neater and the books in correct order, Gertz continues annual surveys to track progress and identify needed actions.

Julie Page (University of California at San Diego) shared a training video and step-by-step instructions for an in-house stacks-cleaning program. Easy to follow and apply, Page’s model was of great interest to the audience who also benefited from her advice on how to staff and equip the project.

Erika Heinen (Yale University) described special requirements of contracted stacks cleaning, including going out to bid, writing a contract, motivating workers, overseeing quality, and managing the budget. Heinen offered valuable advice, such as paying by the shelf to stay within budget, and use of year-end bonuses to reward good work.

Tom McQuire (Munter’s Moisture Control) described causes, preventive actions, and cleanup strategies for mold, water damage, and pest infestations in library collections. His organization specializes in industrial-strength dehumidification of flooded buildings, contracts to “vacuum freeze dry” wet books, and uses a combination of freezing and cleaning to rid books of insects. While McQuire was not able to discuss comparable services from other vendors, he provided valuable information about cleaning options for disaster-damaged collections and reinforced the program’s message that responsible stewardship of collections includes keeping them clean.

[ TOP ]

Exploring the Role of Technical Services within Library Digital Initiatives: Focus on the American South

Steven Carrico, University of Florida, Gainesville

ALCTS Commercial Technical Services Committee’s program presented a panel of four speakers with experience working with digital projects in southern U.S. libraries and consortia, incorporating the role and growing importance of technical services to successful digital initiatives.

Stephen Miller (Digital Library of Georgia) offered examples of the types of cooperative digital projects that his organization has undertaken with other libraries and institutions across the state (e.g., American South Project). He observed that patron access to the OPAC is such an important aspect of a digital project that his library recently hired a metadata coordinator. Angee Baker-McAfee (The McAfee Group) drew on her experiences as the president of a library consulting firm and past digital project coordinator at SOLINET to provide many examples of consortia projects throughout the South. Baker-McAfee noted that a collaborative effort (such as ARCHE, a digital project documenting the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta) is often quite successful because many libraries and archival organizations can offer unique resources to such projects.

Tamara Miller (University of Tennessee Libraries) gave a short history of her experiences working with digital projects and the development of her library’s Digital Library Center. According to Miller, the involvement of technical services within these digital initiatives has grown from a minor role to one of increasing significance. She emphasized that a great opportunity and need is there for technical services staff to serve on digital project teams. Jennifer Watson (Georgia Public Library Service) reviewed her work with digital projects involving the public library system in Georgia. She cited several issues and problems that public libraries must often contend with when taking part in multipartner digital projects, including facing political and economical struggles and dealing with staffing shortages that make contributing to digital projects problematic.

[ TOP ]

The Final Frontier: Creating Effective Interfaces between Library and Administrative Computing Systems

Mary S. Konkel, College of DuPage

Electronic interfaces have been in existence since the early 1980s. With the advent of FTP in the 1990s, data could be seamlessly transferred from a local acquisitions system into a parent institution’s financial system, thus dispensing with the rekeying of data, eliminating errors, and allowing for more efficiency.

Joan G. Lamborn (University of Northern Colorado) and Patricia A. Smith (Colorado State University) offered the following seven steps to an effective interface:

  1. Secure agreement from parent institution financial officers.
  2. Plan the interface in consultation with parent system representatives and library systems staff.
  3. Develop a program to reformat data exported from the library acquisitions system and create necessary new data for loading into the parent system.
  4. Review vendor and fund records in the library acquisitions system to be sure data required from the library system will be provided.
  5. Determine who will be responsible for various parts of the interface process. Develop procedures and train the designated individuals who will create and export payment files, match invoices to exported file data, review and edit the exported file, and initiate loading payment files into the parent system.
  6. Test the interface.
  7. After implementation, be alert to the possibility that an upgrade to either the parent or library system could affect the interface.

Kris Reed (Southern Methodist University) shared her philosophy as a successful “interfacer” for more than ten years. She recommended developing a project plan with appropriate stakeholders (library staff, accounting staff, IT staff, administrators, and financial officers), which will include a needs assessment, timeline, and provision for necessary training. If interfacing multiple systems, transition one system at a time. She stressed the importance of documenting procedures throughout all processes and noted that the key to successful implementation is communication and the involvement of everyone for a successful “buy-in” to the process.

With e-commerce and credit cards already on the horizon, our trio asks, will it be a sunrise or sunset on the final frontier?

David Goldsmith, North Carolina State University

Linking systems together to share financial information can eliminate rekeying of data, reduce errors, and lead to faster processing. Three speakers discussed the process of creating interfaces between library systems and administrative computing systems to record financial transactions.

Joan G. Lamborn (University of Northern Colorado) described the interface development at her institution. Lamborn also went over the decision making process that organizations will need to go through when determining the most efficient workflow in her seven steps to an effective financial interface.

Kris Reed described the steps an organization should go through in determining how to plan an interface. Reed’s presentation focused on assessing the situation, analyzing the current status, determining where the organization should be, creating partnerships, and evaluating options, project timelines, potential roadblocks, and recommendations.

Patricia A. Smith presented an overview of a survey that she conducted with ARL libraries and capital city public libraries. The survey covered how many of the participants use, or are planning to develop, financial interfaces. The participants also answered what type of interfaces they are using, what functions were performed on each system, time and cost savings, and how long it took to develop the interfaces. Smith finished her presentation with new challenges including e-commerce and credit card use in libraries.

[ TOP ]

Fish, Fungus, and Photos: Librarians As Metadata Collaborators

Marilyn Ochoa, University of Florida, Gainesville

The program, presented by the ALCTS Networked Resources and Metadata Committee, featured three panelists who presented their current efforts as metadata collaborators, starting from evaluation of metadata standards and development of shared databases for diverse institutions.

Stephanie Haas (University of Florida) presented “Darwin and MARC: A Voyage of Metadata Discovery,” which described Linking Florida’s Natural Heritage, a project designed to make library bibliographic databases and museum specimen databases located throughout Florida available through a single, Web-based interface. Haas briefly described metadata format and schemes and presented types of enhancements that were made to the MARC records for each specimen. The specimen metadata was the Dublin Core, with the locality and taxonomy (species) information enhanced in the foci. The locality codes were HUC codes for geographical names in the system, while the taxonomic enhancements included the common names or synonyms of the specimens selected from the Integrated Taxonomic Information System, U.S. Department of Agriculture. The project illustrates the use of Z39.50 to interface with metadata schemes, and that a hotlink tool in the archives view of a record allows users to create searchable URLs to the bibliographic universe. This project opens the bridge to the open archives because the metadata elements use standard elements from other fields, increase interoperability, and provide “untold opportunities for new voyages of discovery.”

Bill Garrison (Colorado Digitization Project) described the Western Trails Digitization Project, funded in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). After examining all standards and guidelines, the CDP decided to use the Dublin Core and added new elements as necessary, such as the date of original and format use. After the format was determined, participants attended CDP workshops to be introduced to digitization and scanning, general Dublin Core elements, and CDP elements and their requirements; and to focus on special needs of partner institutions by providing examples of how to examine materials to create its metadata. Garrison attributed the success of the collaboration within the CDP partnership to communication and guidance and because the project uses systems that have or already use the Dublin Core Record Builder. Continuing success is possible since resource people have been identified and the resource builder manual is available as documentation for the process. A union catalog for resource discovery of the collections is available at the project’s Web site.

Nuala Bennett (University of Illinois) provided a discussion of the University of Illinois’ project Teaching with Digital Content which is funded by IMLS. The project seeks to develop a successful model program to integrate digital primary source materials into teaching units in the K–12 curricula and related assignments into educational programs of museums and libraries. This is the second phase of a University of Illinois project sponsored by IMLS, with ten participating institutions, museums and libraries, and fifteen teachers working with the eighth-grade curriculum. The content provides valuable ties with the state-mandated learning standards for K–12 institutions in Illinois. The digitization of material was performed with standard equipment distributed to the practitioners, while the Library of Congress’s American Memory Project and Cornell’s general guidelines for digitization were used to ensure quality metadata and images for the online, shared database and search engine.

Teachers were trained to use the databases and collections. Content, accessibility of materials, intellectual-property agreements, digital capture, activity and delivery, metadata schemes and formats, database search interface and design, and standards and best practices all were discussed. The Dublin Core metadata format was used with descriptive file and title fields as enhancements. The collaborators added complexity to the metadata, based on specific institutional needs and the desire to create richer information resources for users with interpretive comments to the records. The teachers, however, were less concerned with the semantics and wanted to learn how to make the items available and use them. The metadata was sophisticated enough to allow the integration of the variety of different forms used by each participating museum or library, but in the end also it was simple enough to be understood easily by elementary school teachers and their students. Evaluation and reports on the effectiveness of the innovative technology-based applications used are underway.

[ TOP ]

Introduction to AACR2 Revised Chapter 12

Craig Dowski, State University of New York, Buffalo

Jean Hirons (CONSER) began the program, sponsored by the Serials Section Committee to Study Serials Cataloging and the Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access, by announcing that AACR2 2002 amendments will be published in August 2002; the Library of Congress and its Program for Cooperative Cataloging participants have delayed implementation until December 1, 2002. Certain MARC coding changes will be necessary to conform to these amendments and, according to OCLC, these changes will not be implemented for some time.

Hirons then enumerated highlights of the changes: AACR2 Chapter 12 will be renamed “Continuing Resources.” This chapter will cover serials as well as integrating resources. The rules will be more complete and will more effectively accommodate electronic resources. New and revised entries will also be added to the glossary.

More items can now be cataloged as serials. Rules will provide for more changes over time and more flexibility. She announced a change in entry convention: “latest entry” will now be known as “integrating entry.”

Bibliographic resources can either be finite or continuing:

  • Finite resources: Standard monographs (issued one-time only).
  • Finite integrating resources: Issued over time with a predetermined conclusion, usually with a finite number of parts.
  • Continuing resources: A resource issued over time with no predetermined conclusion.
  • Serial: A continuing resource issued in a succession of discrete parts, usually bearing a numerical or chronological designations. “Discrete” means issued in separate parts, issues, or articles.
  • Integrating resource: A bibliographic resource that is changed by means of updates that do not remain discrete and are reintegrated into the whole. These can be either finite or continuing (e.g., updating loose-leafs, databases, or Web sites).

Successive entry for serials will still remain the rule; however, a new term has been introduced: integrating entry. This will require using the same record with changes shown in appropriate fields (reauthorize use of field 247 for previous titles), similar to latest entry but used for different resources. Hirons summarized by saying that serials will continue to be described from earliest issue available using successive entry cataloging, but integrating resources will use the new integrated entry conventions described above. Hirons then described the changes to each area of the descriptive cataloging area brought about by the new rules.

Regina Reynolds (National Serials Data Program) described the major and minor differences that may require a new record as espoused by the new rules. The basic principles of her talk are:

  1. Only those changes indicating a new work should result in a new record. In general, if it’s not significant to a new work, it should not result in a new record. She also urged the audience not to go back and collapse existing records in their local databases to conform to the new rules.
  2. Major changes include: main entry changes; a translated serial that undergoes change in original title; change in a corporate body used as a uniform title identifier; major change in title proper; change in the physical format; and major change in edition statement.
  3. Minor changes include: representation of words in the title proper, articles, prepositions, and conjunctions added, deleted, or changed; corporate body added, deleted, moved, or the representation of body name changed; punctuation changed; changed order of titles in more than one language. All changes in numbering are to be considered minor. Even when a numbering sequence repeats, no new record is made.

She concluded with this guiding principle: When in doubt, consider the change to be minor.

Rhonda Lawrence (UCLA School of Law) elaborated on the new integrating resource category as applied to updating loose-leafs, using the weekly updates to law publications as examples. Impetus for the AACR2 changes was practical experience with these materials, as well as bibliographic control over Web resources. She defined the updating loose-leaf as a bibliographic resource that consists of a base volume updated by separate pages, which are inserted, removed, or substituted. The principle of integrated entry cataloging defined by the new rules will govern the description of these resources. Changes to existing bibliographic records will describe current iteration of the resource; a new record will be created only for certain changes in edition, mergers, splits, and when there is an entirely new work. She then gave examples illustrating these concepts.

Adam Schiff (University of Washington) spoke on the integrating resource category as applied to electronic resources. To properly describe these resources, the new Chapter 12 must be used in conjunction with Chapter 9. He pointed out an important Library of Congress Rule Interpretation (LCRI) (1.0A) stating that direct access updating of electronic resources are serials, not integrating resources (e.g., a CD-ROM database updated quarterly). Schiff then reviewed specific Chapter 12 rules governing the description of electronic resources: the basis of description should be formed on the current iteration of the resource (areas 1–6). Exceptions are dates of publication (based on the first or last iterations), and notes and standard numbers or terms of availability (areas 7–8, based on all iterations and any other source). He stressed the importance of notes in the cataloging record for electronic resources, such as system requirements, mode of access, and the nature and scope of the resource. He concluded with the conditions under which a new record is needed. For integrating resources, most changes are considered minor and do not require a new record. The bibliographic description is changed to reflect the current iteration and notes are made to account for information on earlier iterations. However, a new record is needed if a remote e-resource is replaced by a different resource and if the resource at the URL in the original bibliographic record changes to a completely different resource.

[ TOP ]

Measuring the New Measures: What Are the Implications for Collection Management?

Dennis Lambert, Villanova University

A large audience successfully navigated a seemingly endless Georgia World Congress Center corridor to hear new ways of measuring and assessing today’s increasingly electronic academic library collections. The program, sponsored by CMDS Quantitative Measures for Collection Management Committee and RUSA/CODES, covered ARL’s New Measures initiatives as well as three independent programs.

Carla Stoffle (University of Arizona) spoke on the need for new measures—driven by the new emphasis on outcomes and accountability—and more specifically on initiatives within ARL libraries to develop new tools. These new measures are needed to guide our spending on resources and improve the quality of collections. Rush Miller (University of Pittsburgh) described one of the ARL initiatives, the E-Metrics Project, an effort to ease the collection of use statistics for networked resources. Vendors often provide no statistics at all or sometimes provide numbers that are imprecise or misleading. E-Metrics will continue to add test sites to collect and assess measures.

Stephen Bosch (University of Arizona) reviewed the experience of the Greater Western Alliance project to develop performance measures for cooperative collection development programs. Cost per use for electronic resources has been particularly difficult to capture. The project plans to create tools that can be used by other consortia. James Self (University of Virginia) discussed the balanced scorecard approach to gathering data, in which data is sought in four areas—user, financial, internal processes, and future perspectives. Outcomes expected from this balanced approach are purchase of materials likely to be used, faster response to users, control of unit costs, and more electronic resources. The final speaker, Joe Zucca (University of Pennsylvania) presented his university’s independent pursuit of new measures, emphasizing the mining of existing data to provide new management information. Examples of such information include cost per login for e-journals and profiles of when and where user groups do their online work.

[ TOP ]

Negotiating Services and Prices: Perspectives from a Librarian, a Publisher, and a Vendor

Lynda Aldana, Johns Hopkins University

Trisha Davis (Ohio State University) opened the program sponsored by the Serials Section Acquisitions Committee and was the first to present what would become common threads in all of the presentations:

  • be prepared by knowing something about the person, company, or vendor with whom you will be negotiating;
  • plan ahead;
  • be organized;
  • prepare your goals and know exactly what you want;
  • know what your bargaining chips are so that you know what you are willing to do or give up in order to get what you want;
  • approach the negotiating process with a win–win attitude; and
  • accept that there will be occasions when it will be better to walk away rather than to end up with an agreement that serves neither party.

To this discussion, Rick Burke (Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium) added the suggestion that when negotiating, “focus on interests, not people.” He also suggested seeing yourself as sitting on the same side of the table as the person with whom you are negotiating, both working on a common problem. Bob Schatz (W. H. Everett) reminded the audience that libraries and vendors are often the “middle people,” which can create situations where there will be far less flexibility. While vendors hope to make a profit, Schatz stressed that the ultimate goal is a long-term relationship with the libraries. Adam Chesler (Kluwer Academic Publishers) pointed out that, aside from the legalese found in licenses, most of the steps participants need to follow in the negotiating process involve common sense. He also reminded the audience that, as with vendors, publishers want a successful long-term relationship.

This program was lively as well as informative, and the different perspectives, one right after the other, offered the chance to easily compare how different groups approach the negotiating process. A question-and-answer session followed the presentations.

[ TOP ]

No More Business As Usual: Is E-Commerce Changing Our Business Models?

Daisy Waters, State University of New York, Buffalo

This program, sponsored by the AAP/ALCTS Joint Committee and the ALCTS Technical Services Committee, brought together a distinguished panel who shared their perspectives on how “current business models are changing as libraries, publishers, and vendors enter the world of e-commerce.” Audrey D. Melkin (Ingenta) served as moderator.

Is e-commerce changing our business models? Keynote speaker Tom Peters (Center for Library Initiatives at the Committee on Institutional Cooperation) answered this question with a resounding yes, noting that e-commerce is becoming big business. He cautioned that “as we develop business models for the delivery of computerized network information, we should not discount or discard the library business model for connecting readers with content.” Specifically, he highlighted the areas of electronic publishing and e-books. Peters summarized with the following points: appreciate and exploit the opportunity offered by the Web; focus your attention and energy on what can be achieved, not on what may be lost; learn by doing; and remember to serve the end user.

Robert Bolick (McGraw-Hill Professional) summarized how digital publishing has grown, urging both publishers and librarians to renew their partnership. He called for three challenges: (1) embrace digital publishing and use it to conquer illiteracy in the United States; (2) advance digital literacy; and (3) get the e-book habit. Amy Dykeman (SOLINET), speaking from the perspective of consortiums, covered objectives, organizational components, challenges, and pricing models. She offered the following advice on how to save your sanity: it must be a win–win situation for the consortium and vendor or publisher; try to determine if the content of the pricing is compelling enough; the vendor also must win; and both sides must be honest with each other.

Michael Markwith (TDNet) advised listeners to develop a sustainable business model; develop what the end user really is asking for, not what they think the end user should have, and understand that too many sources and too many platforms create a lot of confusion. The answer to chaos is the R word—relationships. “Today, the vendor/customer relationship requires that we take advice and use it in a mature way—I think it is called partnering, some call it enabling, some call it linking,” Markwith said. Christopher McKenzie (John Wiley and Sons) spoke of measuring success by identifying the needs of the customer. Nancy Gibbs (Duke University Libraries) stated she hoped there is still a role for the agent.

[ TOP ]

Predicting Publications Prices: Are Old Methods Still Relevant?

Douglas P. Kiker, University of Florida, Gainesville

In recent years many factors have contributed to the question posed by the title of this program, sponsored by Library Materials Price Index Committee and cosponsored by the Serials Section and the ACRL Western European Studies Section. Current events and publishing trends have created the present dilemma for librarians who make both materials purchasing and budgeting decisions. Can or should we continue to use pricing indexes and projection models that may have worked in the past but are now being questioned? If it is now time to make strategic adjustments, which directions should we pursue and what scenarios shall we examine in order to move forward?

Mark McCabe (School of Economics, Georgia Institute of Technology) described methods of attempting to forecast price changes including time-series approach and structural scenarios based on recurring (annual budget increases) as well as nonrecurring events (corporate mergers). He forecast a sluggish macro environment with generally weak growth in library budgets. With the print-to-electronic transition nearing completion, he also said that a price spike is likely due to advantages held by many publishers who own content. Tina Feick (Swets Blackwell) spoke of the dilemmas faced by vendors when interacting with both publishers and libraries. Firm prices from publishers are arriving too late for review. Currency exchanges have been more volatile in recent years, leading to uncertainty. Newer electronic pricing models have been significant in the difficulties of prediction and vendor service.

Randy Call (Detroit Public Library) described the tight fiscal constraints of managing a library budget under an independent taxing authority. Situations can change radically from year to year, as funding is not always up and not always predictable. Projections are formulated and revised throughout the fiscal year until eventually set in June. Jim Neal (Columbia University) listed the many ways that data and information are used and analyzed by academic librarians when making decisions at local, institutional, and governmental levels. Results from surveying academic librarians show that index tools that may have had more practical purposes in the past are now being used as political devices.

Elizabeth Kline, School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee

The history of robust price increases characteristic of periodical pricing was the topic of discussion led by Mark McCabe. He addressed three categories of factors: (1) macro-environment, (2) market-specific influences, and (3) publisher-specific factors, that is, mergers and new titles that influence periodical pricing. McCabe compared the computer and journal industries, pointing out how in the former, competition and new technology tend to drive prices down, but in the latter the opposite is apparent: increased annual use and demand for journals have kept the prices going up.

Tina Feick (Swets Blackwell) shared that although pricing predictions for print subscription still seem to be relevant, it is hard to compare electronic formats because different institutions have different needs for services. She also recommended tracking an institution’s policy decisions and knowing how publisher changes apply to your specific collection. Price predictions from the vendor’s viewpoint are not an easy feat; it is advisable for libraries to establish publisher relations in order to get an idea of prices when preparing a budget.

Randy Call’s presentation, “Price Predictions in a Public Library Budgeting Process,” describing how the use of price guides fits into Detroit Public Library’s operating budget, was highly concentrated on serial and periodical price predictions. He concluded that a trusted cost-projection tool for electronic subscriptions has not been identified yet. Jim Neal complemented the A-list panel. He addressed the prediction of publication prices from the academic library perspective. He reported the results of an unscientific survey he conducted regarding the current use of indexes and thoughts of indexes for the future by library leaders. Based on this survey, he said people are tending to move from the allocation side of the continuum to the political and educational side.

[ TOP ]

Widening the Picture: The IMLS Preservation Survey of Selected Non-ARL Libraries

Dea Miller, School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee

IMLS has funded a survey to research and document current conditions and challenges in preservation programs in American college and research libraries. Cosponsors of the survey include the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Council of Library and Information Resources, University Libraries Group (ULG), and Regional Alliance for Preservation. The survey is designed to gather both quantitative and qualitative data on preservation practices in 250 academic libraries. The program included a presentation of preliminary results as well as a lively audience discussion.

The first stage of the survey collected quantitative data in the form of an online survey. The second stage focused on qualitative data gathered from site visits and personnel interviews. Sites visited included six ARL member libraries, six liberal arts colleges, four ULG members, and four land grant institutions. The third stage of the survey, in process until September 2002, will analyze the data.

Project director Anne Kenney (Cornell University) gave an overview of methods, purpose, and goals, which document current conditions in 123 non-ARL institutions and compare those results to ARL libraries. Martha Kyrillidou (ARL) presented an overview of the quantitative data gathered in the first phase.

Ellen Cunningham-Kruppa (University of Texas at Austin) addressed areas the survey will assist in the education of preservation professionals. She discussed the impact of the lack of Ph.D.s in the field. She also spoke about continuing education and the need for forward-thinking programs, research, and training for the preservation of audio-visual and electronic collections. Andrew Hart (University of North Carolina) led a discussion by posing hypothetical questions to the audience about increases and decreases in funding. An enthusiastic discussion followed with numerous contributions of thoughts, concerns, and questions about both the survey and the future of preservation in general.

[ TOP ]

Year of the Horse: Next Phase in Pinyin Conversion

Rachel L. Wadham, Brigham Young University

The change from the Wade-Giles system of transliteration to the pinyin system has been implemented for nearly two years, and this program, sponsored by CCS Committee on Cataloging: Asian and African Materials, was an update of activities at the Library of Congress, the bibliographic utilities, and two particular libraries. Philip Melzer (Library of Congress) stated that of the thousands of bibliographic and authority records that have been converted, many are still being manually reviewed, including many non-Chinese records that contain Chinese headings. Components that did not convert well are mixed text descriptive fields, typographical errors, and non-Chinese records. Although cleanup is still going on, Melzer sees an anticipated end to the project. In addition to pinyin issue, Melzer noted that there are some new problems with Chinese place names as Chinese jurisdictions are reorganized.

Karen Smith-Yoshimura (Research Libraries Group [RLG]) and Glenn Patton (OCLC) discussed the project from their organizations’ perspectives. They stressed that for the indefinite future, the 987 field must be included in all records that are in pinyin. Jiun Kuo reported that at Rice University, a staff group worked with OCLC to convert both bibliographic and authority records. After conversion, the records were loaded into the local system and manual review of some bibliographic records was completed. Kuo emphasized the importance of user training, especially during the transition. Sarah Elman described the pinyin conversion project at UCLA. Like Rice, UCLA extracted records and sent them to OCLC for processing. When records were returned, Chinese cataloging staff reviewed records marked for review. Elman covered some common conversion errors and suggested that when possible, it is important to keep a back-up copy of the original database. Discussion and clarification questions from the audience followed the presentations.

Elizabeth Kline, School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee

A panel comprised of individuals experienced with the conversion of Chinese-language records and headings from Wade-Giles to pinyin, including representatives of libraries whose records have been converted, gathered to share their perspectives on issues encountered during the conversion process. Philip Melzer reported on the clean-up process and issues that required attention in records marked for review. He also mentioned two minor changes that were proposed in the pinyin romanization guidelines used for the conversion specifications. LC believes that the revised guidelines should be easier to apply because they give clearer instructions and many more examples.

Karen Smith-Yoshimura and Glenn Patton echoed the notion that if a record is in pinyin, participating libraries must enter the 987 marker; without it, the record will get converted twice. Patton referred to this as being “pin-yuck”! OCLC encourages member libraries to make changes to the records it has a proper authorization level to change. Alternatively, if no authorization level is granted, then the record should be reported to OCLC or RLG. But most importantly, when adding a new record to WorldCat, take the time to review it. Smith-Yoshimura said that so far as RLG was concerned, the conversion is done and changes in the romanization guidelines do not affect indexing; therefore, RLG will not go back and reconvert 3.4 million records. However, those changes will be applied to new records. Jiun Kuo and Sarah Elman also shared their experiences and best practices. The panel concluded that other than isolated incidents where errors have been found, they could report that the project essentially is complete.

back to alcts newsletter online home