The reports below are summaries of the activities that took place during meetings of ALCTS discussion groups held at Midwinter Meeting 2003 in Philadelphia. Included are groups whose reports were received by the editor as of April 1. For information on discussion groups not shown here, see the ALCTS Organization page on the ALCTS Web site.
Automated Acquisitions/In Process Control Systems: discussed establishment of standards for acquisitions data that can be used in systems migration and in dealings with materials vendors.
Creative Ideas in Technical Services: fifty-eight people attended and participated in discussion of six topics.
AACR2 2002 Changes and Revisions engaged a mix of catalogers from large and small academic libraries, both serial and monographic catalogers, who observed that the "new" revisions represented nothing new to catalogers. Long-time catalogers remember pre-AACR1 days when various title changes didn't require the creation of new records. The consensus of the group was that the new revisions would make workflows more efficient since fewer records will require title changes. Ever hopeful, the group even added that this might free up catalogers' time to perform other vital parts of their jobs. Rather than training being the largest problem, keeping staff informed and aware of new documentation was proving to be more difficult. Changes to the rules would require that catalogers learn where to locate the new rule and any corresponding documentation, and then the process would begin on how to implement the rules correctly. The group reported that cataloging training for new formats was important and noted that some attendees are currently taking advantage of OCLC's online electronic resources cataloging course.
Collection Development in Acquisitions discussed the role of bibliographers in the overall acquisitions process. Most of the librarians in the group noted that bibliographers and selectors were taking on more responsibilities in public services rather than in technical service areas. This amounted to less time spent on collection development as their roles were expanded to include reference and circulation desk responsibilities. The group reported that this left the selectors with less time to thoroughly explore the library collection in their assigned areas. There was a consensus that selectors did not understand the acquisitions process and lacked the time and interest to gain a more in-depth understanding of the process. Most selectors still use order forms or catalogues to forward their requests to Acquisitions, with only one library noting that bibliographers/selectors downloaded records from OCLC as part of the selection process. There is a growing reliance on approval plans. Firm or discretionary orders are decreasing. One library had 25 separate approval plans. It was reported that maintaining approval plans takes more time than handling discretionary orders.
There is no uniformity regarding which budget lines were used to pay for electronic resources. Some libraries kept the allocation on a separate budget line; others allocated it to serial budgets. This group noticed a trend in the way that publishers are handling paper and electronic serial orders. Publishers now want an original order for the electronic version, which would then include the paper version, not vice-versa. Serial prices keep rising regardless of the format. The libraries represented in the group reported that their libraries tried to retain a budget ratio of 70/30 or 75/25 for serials/monographs expenditures. All of the libraries have had serial cancellation projects in the last few years and some are bracing for another round of cancellations this year. Consortia have helped to keep institutional acquisition costs down. However, consortia are now finding that negotiations with publishers can be a time consuming and frustrating experience, as they work out agreements with member libraries regarding selections.
Aggregator Databases discussed the cataloging and processing of titles in large aggregator databases. Some libraries are purchasing records from a vendor and loading them into local online catalogs; others buy an A-Z list of electronic journals and mount it on web pages. One library created a local database using MS Access and Cold Fusion, and then merged this database with their OPAC, resulting in records that would display holdings in print, microform, and electronic formats. There is no increase in staffing for cataloging electronic resources. However, staff may be reassigned from other areas. The effort to catalog titles in aggregations conflicts with many other ongoing cataloging projects. If in-house staff were used for this venture, new skills and training would be required. Public service librarians want links at the title and article level for aggregations in online library catalogs. No library is providing brief or provisional records for this purpose.
Merging Acquisitions and Cataloging is a "more modern, with-it, more efficient, get things done quicker view." There may be new vendor systems or upgrades to present systems which might allow this to happen more efficiently than in the past. Human resource departments usually get involved when this scenario occurs, to reclassify staff or evaluate compensation. To avoid friction, the word "outsource" should never be used when describing cataloging in acquisitions; a better phrase is "pre-processing material." Having acquisition staff catalog eliminates some redundancy of tasks and material handling. However, cataloging is added to acquisition staff workloads, the staff takes on a double workload and is expected to perform both jobs well. Technical Service departments must evaluate the things they're doing; and if they do not have enough staff to perform both acquisitions and cataloging functions, they need to stop doing something.
Administrative Expectations of Technical Services brought up many issues surrounding the communication and interplay between technical service departments and administrative and management groups. Directors of library systems need to be involved and understand what technical service departments are doing and what their goals are. Weekly meetings with department heads in all areas (including technical services) can foster communication and be a tool for understanding workflow and processes. Technical service units can do more to increase the administration's understanding, such as anticipating administrators' concerns for productivity, making statistics available, and asking for what is needed to perform jobs most efficiently. Some libraries are becoming more proactive by implementing online problem reporting forms. Staff training, and the time spent on staff training, is often insufficient, and some administrators may not understand the need for changing training demands as cataloging rules are updated.
The Graying of Technical Services raised the question of why vacated positions in Technical Services are often left unfilled. Technical Service positions can take a long time to fill, because of low salaries or the addition of administrative responsibilities to the job description. When longtime employees leave, institutional knowledge and documentation often leave with them. Graduate internships or residency programs could help to bring new professionals to the field, as well as offering practical work experience for new librarians. Strategies to recruit new graduates into the field of technical services included: updating job descriptions to include new technologies and changing standards; requiring new recruits to perform six months of cataloging; and marketing "ourselves" and technical services positions more positively.
Electronic Resources: chose the topic of Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Two guest speakers were featured, each of whom addressed a different aspect of the topic. Gail MacMillan (Virginia Tech) provided an overview of the history of electronic theses and dissertations at her institution and internationally. Because Virginia Tech has been a leader in the development of ETDs, the information provided by Ms. MacMillan offers a benchmark for institutions involved in developing their own ETD programs. Brian Surratt (Texas A&M University) detailed the process by which his institution has automated the descriptive cataloging of ETDs. The development of a PERL script to translate harvested metadata from the ETD into a MARC record which is then reviewed by a cataloger before being loaded into the catalog represents a significant step forward in the ability to provide cost-effective access to these resources. Discussion following the two presentations revolved around specific aspects of developing ETD programs, subject access and cataloging of ETDs in addition to the basic descriptive cataloging accomplished by Texas A&M's automated process, and discussion of the increase in use of theses and dissertations when they're made available online. Managing access to these materials is a relatively new challenge to the academic library community. We have an opportunity to provide a new level of access to a class of material (theses and dissertations) that traditionally has very little access and suffers from under-use.
Newspaper: Patricia Kelker (Free Library of Philadelphia) presented a "walking tour" of the newspaper collection in her library. The collection includes print newspapers from most states and microfilm of the major US daily newspapers. Patrons have access to 15 microfilm readers and 10 reader printers, and fill out requests (newspaper title and date) for the newspapers and microfilm reels. Approximately 5,000 reels and 5,000 newspapers are used on a monthly basis. At the end of each year, the local community newspapers are microfilmed; the negative film is kept on site, which is a great concern for the staff. Patricia described several special projects, including the use of Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds to convert a handwritten index for the Philadelphia Press to a searchable Microsoft Access database, and preserving seven volumes of scrapbooks of Philadelphia newspapers and newspaper personnel collected as a Works Projects Administration (WPA) project, by cleaning and scanning the pages to CD-ROMs. The CDs were sent to OCLC Preservation Resources who, for the first time, made microfilm from discs. The library partnered with ProQuest to learn how to splice film in response to overflow storage areas of microfilm, and now has invested in an ultrasonic splicer: this activity has been integrated into the workflow on a daily basis.
Robert Harriman, director of the Digital & Preservation Cooperative at OCLC Digital & Preservation Resources, discussed the Cooperative's research agenda. OCLC's Digital & Preservation Division was formed a little more than a year ago, with three components:
Jessica Albano briefly described the University of Washington's newspaper genre headings project to add genre headings for Pacific Northwest ethnic and special audience newspapers into each newspaper's library catalog record. Now that she maintains the Newspaper Genre List, Jessica asked what the official procedure should be for adding and/or revising the headings on the list. The group decided that Jessica should use her own discretion; however, she should consult the UW's principal cataloger. Erich Kesse suggested that Jessica contact the Poynter Institute ( www.poynter.org) for more information and guidance.
Out-of-Print: Robert Rooney (Taylor and Francis) and Brian Elliott (Alibris) discussed the process by which books become remaindered and then are sold in the remainders market. Mr. Rooney and Mr. Elliott described the evolution of a book's availability, from its initial publication to its changing status from in print to out-of-stock and/or out-of-stock indefinitely and then to out-of-print and remaindered -- none of which, these days, preclude its eventual sale.
Pre-Order and Pre-Catalog Searching: engaged in an introspective look at the discussion group, its history, and ideas for future direction. In particular the discussion focused on the group's charge as listed in the ALA Handbook to evaluate its continued relevance in today's library. Discussion points for the meeting were as follows:
The attendees concluded that the group is still relevant, but the charge is somewhat limited and perhaps misleading; it was suggested that the focus of the group has been in acquisitions but that perhaps the phrase "pre-order" implies a collection management-centered focus. The charge was compared with that of the Automated Acquisitions/In-Process Control Systems DG to see if they overlapped. It was agreed that although there are some similarities, these two groups can co-exist, but the charge should be revised and updated in the ALA Handbook. Some suggestions for future topics are issues related to searching during the selection process, ways to integrating faculty in the vendor online system searching for desired material, impact of consortial decisions on a member's workflow, and the impact of approval plans on selection searching. The Chair and Vice-Chair agreed to revise the charge and circulate it for comments before forwarding to ALCTS.
Role of the Professional in Academic Research Technical Services Departments: Daisy P. Waters (State University of New York at Buffalo) spoke on "Recruiting Technical Services Librarians: a Continuous Process." She gave the audience a review of the literature regarding one of the library profession's most challenging topics. Ms. Waters shared her personal story of recruitment, and it was one worthy enough to tell again to other aspiring recruits. Micheline Brown (Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC) described "Collaborative Opportunities for Technical and Public Service Librarians: Cross Training Reference Librarians to Catalog." Ms. Brown left the audience looking for ways to identify areas and needs of possible collaboration, the elements of designing such a project, requirements for training, and keys to a successful collaborative project. Sara Spiegel (Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America) spoke on "The Relationship between Professional and Support Staff in Technical Services, or Energizing our Support Staff as a Crucial Factor of Better Dynamics and Outcomes in Technical Services." This topic was very appropriate for today's library discussions. She gave the audience much to consider regarding existing organizational models for technical services and suggestions for a new, more flexible approach to training; one that creates different dynamics within the department. Each speaker made reference to the same three words: enthusiasm, flexibility and evaluation. Enthusiasm is certainly contagious in recruiting, in training and in collaborating. When flexibility is demonstrated it produces a more relaxed partnership for any project. Evaluation lays the foundation for continuous improvement.
Scholarly Communications: Joyce L. Ogburn (University of Washington) shared with attendees UW's scholarly communication initiatives, as well as her own perceptions of avenues needing specific consideration, ensuring progress towards identifying evolving issues that may aid in the successful integration of new scholarship and publishing models into the academic mainstream. The discussion simultaneously provided an opportunity to identify pertinent topics and appropriate speakers to lead the discussion at the upcoming Annual meeting in Toronto. The issues that Ogburn identified and later elaborated on a point-by-point basis provided the necessary springboard for an exceptionally collegial and informative session. The attendees had the opportunity to learn more about creative steps that already have and will be taken by other universities with regard to pressing digital archiving and scholarly publishing issues. One of the central concerns identified by Ross Atkinson (Cornell University) was the need to coordinate efforts on a grand scale.
Arlene Sievers (Case Western Reserve University) discussed the need to continually market to and keep an open dialogue with the teaching faculty. She has begun an electronic newsletter entitled: Scholarly Matters. Articles deal with copyright or university presses, to continually emphasize the issues in scholarly communication to CWRU's faculty. Another concern stressed the need to build faculty trust by working more often through scholarly societies and less often through administration, a historically distrusted and less appealing avenue for faculty. Ray English (Oberlin College) informed the group that ACRL has already started a scholarly communication initiative by establishing a committee that is in the process of preparing web-based tool-kits that will provide lists of speakers, bibliographies and URLs, and recommend ways to engage campus faculty in initiatives that will help in asserting control beginning at the grass-root levels.
Technical Services Administrators of Medium-sized Research Libraries (Medium Heads): the theme for discussions over the next year is "Technical Services Cooperation with Public Services Needs and Demands: How Do, Can, and Should We Cooperate Effectively?" At Midwinter 2003 seven case studies illustrating technical services cooperation with public services needs were presented to the 55 participants, who were allowed to choose their favorite topics to discuss in small groups. Two of the seven cases were not chosen. The participants were then split up into discussion groups at round tables to deal with the five case studies that were selected. After 45 minutes of lively table discussions, each table chose a speaker to give a brief presentation of their theme and discussion to the larger group, and invite comments from all the participants. The five case studies discussed were:
Technical Services Directors of Large Research Libraries (Big Heads): discussions and reports included a presentation by Cecily Johns (California Digital Library) updating results of their collection management study of usage of print and electronic journals on the UC campuses. The group discussed management of electronic resources in our respective libraries: criteria for selection of electronic over print format; access to electronic resources in the OPAC; use of aggregator records and single record versus separate record cataloging.
Concerns over the impact of budget constraints and cataloging workloads prompted discussion of potential collaborative efforts to increase the available pool of cataloging copy. Bob Wolven (Columbia University), Chair of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC), summarized the PCC's plan to gather more information about what formats, languages, subject disciplines, etc., may not be covered by PCC cataloging, with the intent of targeting participation to cover such gaps. Questions about perceived delays in OCLC's loading of records cataloged in the local system prompted a decision to form a task group to investigate the extent of the perceived problem and contact OCLC before the annual meeting in June. Jean Hirons (CONSER Coordinator, Library of Congress) described a proposal for using CONSER's Serials Cataloging Cooperative Training Program (SCCTP) model for training for catalogers in general.
The group discussed the issues of preservation and digital archiving. Several libraries in the Big Heads group are members of the Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe (LOCKSS) preservation initiative, and are also using MIT's D-Space open source software for archiving. Beacher Wiggins (Director of Cataloging, Library of Congress) reported on LC's activities in the area of digital archiving.
Big Heads supported a proposal from the ALCTS Executive Committee to sponsor an ALCTS program on Institutional Repositories and Metadata, with speakers to address the D-Space project, during the regularly scheduled discussion group at the annual meeting in June. The group also formed a task group to determine if there are problems with OCLC batch loading among the institutions represented, and agreed to plan a program on Institutional Repositories and Metadata for June 2003.
Acquisitions Administrators: The topic for discussion was "Ordering Electronic Products from Non-Traditional Vendors" with the goal of bringing the issues to the table at this meeting and inviting vendors to respond at the annual meeting in June 2003. The conversation at the meeting began on topic and expanded from these issues to include internal workflow ideas of how libraries are accommodating electronic resources. The consensus at the end of the meeting was that the co-chairs should expand the panel at the June meeting to include electronic resources vendors, subscriptions agents and ILS vendors.
Acquisitions Librarians/Vendors of Library Materials: two topics were selected: Traditional Vendors versus going through Local Major Retailers, and The Future of Blanket Discounts Arrangements. There was considerable discussion on the first topic. It seemed that in most instances acquisition librarians are using local retailers to acquire materials for reserve reading lists or current best sellers. The "local retailer" varied from the campus bookstore to local Barnes and Nobel, Borders or the like. A number of attendees reported that they used on-line services such as Barnes and Noble.com or the always-controversial Amazon.com: as was true in past discussions, Amazon.com is loved by some librarians and hated by others. It was pointed out that they are certainly very fast for titles on the New York Times Best Seller list but that their invoices can be very difficult to process. One real surprise was that one library had achieved some success using Walmart.com. But while local and on-line retailers are being used for rush items and reserve reading, mainstream vendors are still being used to acquire most materials.
Bob Schatz (Franklin Books) introduced the second topic, the Future of Blanket Discounts Arrangements. Bob outlined the difficulties blanket discounts cause the vendors because of shrinking discounts from publishers, and asked the audience if they would support a staggered approach to discounts. While the acquisitions librarians understand the pressure on the vendors, they are also very much aware of the pressures on their materials budgets. There was no great enthusiasm to depart from the present practice.
Gifts and Exchange: An influx of gifts continues to challenge library staff while exchange operations seem to be diminishing in most libraries. Several academic libraries report the impact of increasing faculty retirements on their gift operations. The group focused on the importance of gift policies for guiding discussions with donors, selection or rejection of titles for the collection, and disposition of rejected titles. Many libraries offer gifts to charities around the world. Book sales continue to be a staple in libraries' store of ways to build good will and dispose of duplicate and rejected gifts. Many libraries are recycling materials as a disposal method. All participants stressed the delicacies of library gift operations in this post "Double-Fold" era. The chairs were very pleased with meeting attendance and participation. Several folks liked "dropping in" on the discussion group when gifts become an issue or a new assignment in their library.
At Toronto, the Gifts and Exchange Discussion Group plans to invite online booksellers to join our discussion about ways to use online sources to dispose of gifts (and perhaps realize some revenue). Chairs have already been in touch with Canadian online OP dealer, abebooks.com
The ALCTS Out-of-Print Discussion Group and the AS Gifts & Exchange Discussion Group topics seem to overlap in some cases, and perhaps joint discussions might be beneficial. Gifts & Exchange leadership and participants are interested in joining forces around common issues.
Catalog Management: The discussion broadly outlined authority control workflows. It was our intention to discover the interests and needs of attendees in the area of authority control, in order to provide a series of related discussions on more narrowly focused topics in this area. The discussion ranged across vendor services vs. in-house authority control, time-of-cataloging vs. post-cataloging procedures, levels of staff doing authority work, and training issues. By the end of the discussion, the group seemed to be most interested in further discussion of series and uniform title authority control.
Cataloging and Classification Research: The Midwinter discussion topic was "Display of Bibliographic Records in Library Catalogs," led by an active researcher in this area, Dr. Allyson Carlyle (University of Washington's Information School).
Cataloging Norms: the meeting featured three brief topical presentations and related discussion. Claudia Hill (Avery Art & Architecture Cataloger, Columbia University Libraries) began by describing "After 9/11: Cataloging related materials for the Avery Library, Columbia University, New York City. " She was followed by Qiang Jin (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) who discussed "Comparing and Evaluating Corporate Names in the National Authority File (LC NAF) on OCLC and on the Web". One hundred corporate names listed in the National Authority File (LC NAF) on OCLC were compared with the corporate names listed on official corporate web pages collected between October 1st and November 30th, 2001 in order to understand and evaluate their differences. Analysis revealed that twenty five percent of corporate names found in the National Authority File are different from the form of corporate names as found on the official corporate web pages. Unless information from the web is incorporated into the authority record either as the heading itself or as cross references, users may not find everything issued by corporate bodies in library catalogs. The discussion centered on the form of name found on the web site should be used as the heading and when it should be used as a cross-reference.
The third speaker, Tatiana Barr (University of Florida) described how cataloging interfaces with the Digital Library Center at the University of Florida. The issues and discussions arose around the digitization of 19th century children's literature as part of an NEH grant for cataloging and preservation of the American and English children's literature in the Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature, 1850-59 at the University of Florida. The dialogue between cataloging and the digitizers included many "players": the traditional cataloging staff, the NEH catalogers, AACR2, the Digital Library Center, the Preservation Department, the Curator of the Baldwin Library, the Florida Center for Library Automation, LUIS (the UF online catalog) and WebLUIS, LTQF (the partition where all Florida State University System digital images reside in the form of provisional or full cataloging records), OCLC Passport and WorldCat, and new digital technologies. The Digital Library Center (DLC) saw its purpose as providing quick and easy access to all images. The patron, they argued, had other expectations now (from exposure to the WWW and Google). Patrons for the collection vary from young school children and mothers at home to sophisticated researchers. The discussions centered on the need for item level records on which to "hang" images; the need for a more detailed and useful approach to the 505; and the creative uses of links that the Digital Library could take advantage of in order to turn the bibliographic record into "a portal to the index of digital images." But the goals of the project and the uses of AACR2 presented obstacles. Two titles reissued as a bound-with were cataloged on one record to preserve their bibliographic integrity.
Authority work for an Encoded Archival Description (EAD) project raised another issue between Cataloging and DLC: could Cataloging provide "user friendly" authority records for patrons, recording all variants? The University of Florida creates opportunities for Cataloging to talk to the DLC such as catalogers being assigned to Digital Project teams, librarians volunteering to input structural metadata to increase their understanding of the issue, and a librarian being assigned to act as liaison between Cataloging and the DLC. A recent reorganization plan reflects this: Technical Services is now Technology Services, and the Digital Library Center is now Digitization Services and reports to Technology Services. A new "Web Services & Training" unit recognizes the need for training of staff in metadata on all levels and "Information Management Services" has become "Metadata and Cataloging Support". All these "players" have been brought into closer alignment, working together for an effective "resource discovery system".
Copy Cataloging: heard two brief presentations covering local copy cataloging practices. Arlene Klair (University of Maryland) described details on the University of Maryland's conversion to CatME and their use of PromptCat for purchase plans. She also described a recent change in workflow, searching new materials first in an effort to catalog as many of them as soon as possible, with the hope of referring the fewest number of titles to the original catalogers. This is a change from the past practice of queuing new items in favor working on the oldest materials first. Rebecca Routh (Northwestern University) described "cataloging-on-receipt" at her institution where staff perform both the acquisitions and the copy-cataloging functions sequentially as items are received. She discussed the observed benefits of this process and explained how this process is facilitated by the automation of many acquisitions functions for titles ordered on Yankee Book Peddler's GOBI database, and by the use of a locally designed toolkit that validates headings and assigns Dewey call numbers.
Heads of Cataloging Departments: discussed the effect of digital initiatives on cataloging operations. Three presenters - Brad Eden (University of Nevada-Las Vegas), JoAnne Deeken (University of Tennessee), and Suzanne Graham (University of Southern Mississippi) described changes taking place at their institutions and prompted conversation about a variety of issues. Participants discussed the need to position the cataloging department to assume a role (or a greater role) in the library's digital enterprise and the inherent difficulties involved, including training catalogers to assume new responsibilities, rethinking many years of reliance on MARC as the exclusive metadata scheme, and creating organizational structures that allow for flexibility in a rapidly changing information technology environment. In addition, Peggy Johnson, ALCTS Education Committee Chair, briefly outlined the work of her committee and its efforts to meet the continuing education needs of the membership.
Chief Collection Development Officers of Large Research Libraries: heard a report on the Aberdeen Woods conference, and plans for a national planning conference for print preservation, as well as discussions underway to develop a collaborative print archive.
Collaborative print archives: University of California campuses are proceeding with plans to build a shared print collection of Elsevier and ACM titles since they hold licenses to all their electronic journals. This is an experiment to help plan the building of a shared print "dim archive" in their regional storage facilities. Are others carrying out similar plans to build publisher based "archives?" How they are approaching issues of access to the print (i.e. defining the archive), ownership, public record display, etc. How do we coordinate our print archives?
E-Journal Licensing : Special requirements for e-journal access, including especially the prohibition on cancellation set by some publishers, have now been in place for several years. How are libraries adapting to these requirements, given the present downturn in library budgets? Are such requirements sustainable? If not, how are libraries preparing to respond in future? Ross Atkinson started off the discussion by positing that the so-called "big deal" for journal acquisitions is not sustainable. A number of attendees reported on how their institutions are approaching e-journal negotiations. Fern Brady described how the University of Pittsburgh uses subscription agents to help negotiate license terms with journal publishers. She indicated that this was especially useful in getting accurate subscription data from Elsevier. Mary Case shared preliminary data from the Association for Reserach Libraries (ARL) survey on E-Journal subscription trends.
Scholarly Publishing Projects: which libraries are acting as, or are providing special support to scholarly publishers? Why are libraries undertaking these projects, and how are they being funded? Assunta Pisani of Stanford indicated her institution's support for Highwire Press and a new monographs publishing initiative. Richard Fyfe talked about the BioOne initiative at Kansas. Mark Sandler indicated that the University Library at Michigan was supporting a Scholarly Publishing Office (SPO) with 4 FTE staff. SPO was moving forward campus publications as well as doing contract work to support its operations. Cindy Shelton reported on the E-Scholarship initiative at CDL and the relationship to B-Press at Berkeley.
Collection Management in Public Libraries: discussed strategies for managing the materials budget in really bad times, especially when all constituencies seem equally valid:
Some political decisions have to be made. For example, if 30% of your user population is Hispanic but only 3% of your budget, that's untouchable. Look at your library's mission and service priorities: since many of us aren't trying to build broad and deep retrospective collections any more, maybe the impact of cuts is not as permanent as it used to be.
There was a brief discussion on emergent interoperability between ILS and materials vendors' websites, and impact on selection and acquisitions. Topics for Annual in Toronto: Opening Day Collections, plus, melding of selection and acquisitions functions.
Library Binding: To provide a historical context, a panel presentation discussed the ANSI/NISO/LBI Standard. Paul Parisi (Acme Bookbinding) presented "Quality is No Accident: a Review of Binding Standards from 1923 - 2003." Bill Waldron (ICG/Holliston) discussed book cover materials and the ANSI/NISO/LBI Standard. Rob Mauritz (LBS) discussed binding materials and the ANSI/NISO/LBVI Standard. Bill DeWitt (Heckman Bindery) discussed current developments in bindery interface software.
Micro/Digital Publishers: Fenn Quigley (Gale/Primary Source Microfilm) reported that 90% of his company's film holdings (over 500 unique microform collections) are on roll film, the rest on fiche. The aggregate holdings of 1.6 billion images constitute the "8th largest library in the world." Over one million filmed images of pages are added annually. The company's current emphasis is offering duplication services to reformat deteriorating acetate film to polyester. Primary Source masters are stored off-site. Print copies are stored on-site in a controlled environment with a fire safety system. Mr. Quigley did not know what the temperature and RH conditions were at either site. Primary Source is the largest official Kodak Document Conversion Center in North America. There is good control over Primary Source material, but not as much over material taken in from other companies. Response has been very favorable to online guides to the microform collections. Some content has been re-purposed for electronic distribution and the company may eventually be able to offer both film and digital versions of collections. Todd Bludeau briefly described the holdings of the Leiden-based Inter Documentation Company (IDC). Their microfilm masters are housed in a climate-controlled (66 F / 35% RH) subterranean vault in the Netherlands. They keep a backup copy ("shadow archive") of all material. There were a few questions and brief discussion of microfiche "masters."
PARS: The meeting focused on two topics, publication and ergonomic issues. John Budd, Editor of Library Resources and Technical Services, discussed some of the recent issues the journal has faced in regard to publication. There has been a significant decline in the number of articles received from outside the cataloging realm. One of the major issues discussed has been the idea of what constitutes research. It seems as though there is a bit of a disconnect between the idea as held by LRTS and that of most preservation administrators - namely, LRTS is not interested in procedural articles, and our members are, by virtue of their positions, concerned with procedural issues. Shawn Tonner (Library Building & Renovation Management) led a discussion about ergonomics in the workspace. Shawn is a librarian by training and has worked as a library-building consultant (primarily in academic libraries) for the last seven years. This forum provided the opportunity to discuss information about ergonomics with an individual intimately involved in incorporating ergonomics within the workspace.
Physical Quality and Treatment of Library Materials: the attendees reviewed the charge of the discussion group and its past programming. The main objective was to brainstorm discussion topics for the upcoming year. Our discussions will promote the preservation of information through open discussions that encourage collaboration between professionals. The co-chairs encourage open communications between individuals, institutions, and other professional organizations by identifying common practices and problems.
Today's discussion primarily focused on identifying members' common interests and educational needs surrounding preservation of several types of library materials. The planning meeting was very successful. The group identified several topics for discussion ranging from preserving music materials, options for housing non-print media materials, planning and renovating conservation lab spaces, etc. Co-chairs will select topics of broad interest for the members, with special attention paid to topics that promote collaboration between other ALA discussion groups and/or allied professional organizations (e.g. AIC, SAA, etc.).
Preservation Instruction, Education and Outreach: discussion focused on the current state of upper level technician training and collections conservation training. The conversation began by looking at ways to increase attendance at the workshops that are offered through such groups as SOLINET. It was agreed that the most major hurdle inhibiting higher attendance is a lack of funds. Even if the workshops are very reasonably priced, the necessary travel and lodging often makes them too expensive for many institutions to support. The conversation then turned to future plans for institutional cooperation and continuing education, for which there are several plans afoot. A general interest was shown in the University of Texas offering a higher-level book repair course for technicians, similar to one offered about seven years ago. Funding would be critical to this idea's success. The conversation then focused on collections conservators' training and whether or not full "bench" training is necessary, or if it would be better to have more administrative training. The general consensus was that the bench training was necessary to making good repair decisions, and that administrative skills will come with time on the job. Finally, it was proposed that a full investigation into the success of our previous and current preservation efforts (concentrating on people outside of PARS) would be very helpful, though some of the information may be available from the forthcoming Heritage Health Index. This assessment would, however, require much time and planning, and is not a project anybody was willing to move forward on.
Preservation Issues in Small to Mid-size Libraries: "Preservation Issues in Off-site Storage Facilities" was introduced by Bill Overton, (William B. Meyer, Inc.) who described his experience as a vendor working with the establishment of the NELINET storage facility in Massachusetts. Claire Q. Bellanti (Director of the University of California Southern Regional Library Facility) shared her experience with that facility since 1987, including current plans for an addition. The information provided by the speakers, as well as members of the audience who work with storage facilities at their institutions, generated numerous questions and an active discussion. This discussion group serves as a forum for many preservation issues that don't neatly fit into other existing groups and typically draws an audience from areas beyond the preservation community. Charles Kolb (National Endowment for the Humanities) described Preservation Assistance grants and encouraged libraries to apply for them.
Reformatting (Analog/Digital): Nancy Gwinn (Smithsonian Institution Libraries) led a spirited discussion centered on whether or not audience members felt that digital files could be considered preservation "masters." Ms. Gwinn indicated that she had been informally surveying colleagues. While a few institutions seemed to be moving in this direction, most responses were more conservative. Some felt quite uncomfortable about equating bit streams with analog masters. She reminded everyone that many patrons and curators are demanding access via digital technologies. Resources (funding; staffing; hardware and software costs) are a key issue. Ms. Gwinn suggested that we make responsible choices, given that funding is limited. Establishing microfilming standards was a slow and difficult process, but was ultimately successful; perhaps digital standards will develop in the same manner. She pointed out that many intelligent, dedicated and industrious people are hard at work on the problems associated with digital archiving. Further, this is a broad-based problem affecting more than the library, archive and museum communities. It is a major concern in the business world as well.
The range of audience comments included strong votes for continued microfilming and mentioned the need for further discussion of the viability of 16mm microfilm for preservation purposes. One library is moving away from microfilming towards digital because the microfilming industry (including R&D for new products, production of film stock, developing equipment and camera parts) appears to be winding down. One librarian was told by her director to move from microfilm into digital. There was mention of the lost and recovered data from the British Library's "Digital Domesday Book" project. The project costs were mentioned in press releases but there do not appear to be reports on the cost of the data recovery. There was comment to the effect that digital reformatting is just one of many preservation options and should be used when justified and affordable. Previously neglected and unread material has received unprecedented attention by virtue of its being available on the web, though there was no indication that the quality of seldom-read works had improved with age. Everyone seems well aware that digitization for preservation purposes requires a serious, long-term commitment to infrastructure development and the issues of software and hardware obsolescence, migration, emulation, &c. Not everyone has had pleasant experiences with digital files. Finally, it was suggested that such discussion does not address the more critical issue of the extended-term survival of "born digital" material.
Journal Costs in Libraries: Four panelists (consultant, publisher, librarian, subscription agent) spoke about specific issues concerning bulk purchasing in libraries. Both consortial pricing and package pricing were discussed. The general consensus was that electronic pricing models and licensing issues are still too complicated and time consuming. Although the cost per title is usually very reasonable, the need to purchase a greatly increased number of titles leads to larger expenditures. In the current economy, libraries can no longer afford their "big deals" and most are reconsidering their options. In order to afford the electronic resources that students and faculty are demanding, some libraries are canceling the print, which raises the question of the intellectual archiving of the information.
There is a dysfunctional relationship in the purchasing of journals because the real customer (the reader) has no financial responsibility and the libraries are required to satisfy the needs of the reader. Consortial purchasing causes a greater dysfunction because the reader is even further removed. Other issues discussed were the effect of "big deal" packages from big publishers and how it affected the smaller publishers. A suggestion was made that the smaller publishers need to band together in order to offer the same type of deals.
Research Libraries: The topic was "Serials Reviews Revisited," to attract an audience of both librarians who are considering serial review/cancellation projects, and those who have already done so and willing to share "war stories." Katy Ginanni facilitated the discussion, raising new questions with the audience when one topic seemed to be exhausted. Some of the questions/topics discussed included: