Discussion Groups Report on Conference Activities in San Diego
The reports below are summaries of the activities that took place during meetings of ALCTS discussion groups held at Midwinter Meeting 2004 in San Diego. Included are groups whose reports were received by the editor as of February 7. For information on discussion groups not shown here, see the ALCTS Web site.
Automated Acquisitions/In Process Control Systems: The topic was "Shifting Responsibility: Good, Bad, or Just a Fact a Life?" Are vendor databases and expanded vendor services improving life in the acquisitions department of libraries? Are they affecting the way librarians use the ILS? A panel of librarians and vendors initiated the discussion. The opening comments were followed by a lively discussion of the issues surrounding increased services available through materials vendor's databases. Participants made the following observations:
The discussion concluded with a summary of work that is being done on defining a standard for acquisitions data elements. Mark Truitt (Assistant Dean for Systems at the University of Houston) provided the group with a status report on the efforts toward a standard for acquisitions data. Truitt said there are several separate efforts being made. Vendors are more focused on the format of data files than on data elements, while other groups are calling for an analysis of acquisitions processes, collection development, and enhancing metadata for collection development. The discussions with NISO are ongoing as well.
Creative Ideas in Technical Services: Discussed six topics -- What do we want in next generation ILS?; training staff in authority control; technical services involvement in digitization projects; using macros in technical services workstations; patron interaction with the catalog; and relations between public and technical services. Two additional proposed topics, "Online ordering systems" and "Open access to scholarly journals," were not discussed.
Desired features of What do we want in next generation ILS? included better reporting facilities, access to data tables, ability to work with data in non-MARC formats, support for non-roman scripts, electronic journal management functions, and better ability to get different types of data into and out of the system (e.g. vendor, financial, and patron data). The modular structure of current ILS products can be an impediment to workflow. A more seamless structure would be preferable.
How might the ILS grow beyond the traditional functions of the online catalog? Linking and integration with other systems was a major theme. Participants cited e-reserves, course-management software, and federated searching. An ILS could make fuller use of data already encoded in catalog records. There is a perception that the OPAC gets "in the way" of users' searches, and that the catalog is a tool for librarians rather than users. If an ILS were designed explicitly from a student perspective, we might expect to see more graphic representation of data instead of text, images (such as cover art), and access to what MARC codes mean rather than the code itself. Also mentioned was the ability to define personal preferences, but in a way that respects patron privacy. Participants compared the capabilities of search engines to the capabilities of the catalog. In 5 to 10 years, participants felt patron access components would get the most attention from vendors and would change the most. The group expects greater workflow uniformity among vendors, and that XML could replace MARC as the metadata format of choice.
Training staff in authority control revealed that current practices vary widely among their libraries. Three libraries out of seven have a professional librarian supervising an Authority Control unit within the Cataloging Department. Some attendees reported that paraprofessionals as well as students do authority work; the paraprofessionals receive training from experienced librarians, and in some cases, have had more NACO expertise than new librarians hired. Staff also learn from each other, often by checking each other's work. Students who have displayed an aptitude for authority work are provided with detailed instructions and participate in database clean-up projects in some libraries. Concerns about compensation commensurate with the increased workload and level of responsibility lead some libraries to limit authority work to professional staff. In the NACO libraries, training is handled by someone who knows authority control until formal NACO training or a refresher workshop is available. In other libraries, training for authority control is handled by those who have the experience and knowledge to do so. NACO participants in the group encouraged everyone to consider joining.
Everyone acknowledged that some authority work is done "on the fly" as needed, e.g., headings are "cleaned up" when they are encountered in the course of the day's work. Most participants stated that authority work was done at the point of cataloging when an original record was being input; in other cases, authority work was done post-cataloging. Consortial issues and the need for cooperation with respect to authority work and database maintenance also came up. In some libraries, participation in NACO is a valuable element in the curriculum vitae when one is being considered for promotion. Outsourcing was mentioned briefly, from sources such as MARCive and MARS. Several participants shared that authority control had not been covered in their library school program, or at least it had been handled in only a cursory fashion. On-the-job training was critical.
Regarding technical services involvement in digitization projects, it was agreed that technical services involvement tends to be insufficient; many libraries engaged in digitization projects do not make effective use of the expertise of technical services staff. It is important make those in charge of digitization aware of our metadata expertise. Technical services staff should help plan a digitization project from the beginning. In digitizing material, it is important to design a system that makes the material usable and accessible. A plan for a project's metadata should be made at the beginning and integrated into the general parameters of the project. A good way to get digitization off the ground is to identify a project that highlights one's community or university: get money from the university or community, and then work on the project with your special collections division or faculty. The group recommended that libraries should buy a digitization system such as ContentDM or Greenstone. Copyright issues must be considered in any digitization project.
In discussing the use of macros and other automation tools in technical services workstations, the group surveyed which tools they currently use, and in which environment. Most participants do all editing of catalog records in their local system. One library does all editing in OCLC, and another edits in RLIN then uses a DOS program to convert records before transferring into the local system. Some libraries are still using Passport to access OCLC. One is using CATME as a steppingstone from Passport to Connexion. Macros are commonly used to add diacritics or certain types of notes that must be applied to many records. Functions automated range from simple (formatting spine labels), to complex (find the series in a record, open another window, perform a search).
The group considered issues of responsibility for macro installation. In general, supervisors create macros because of the potential for problems to be magnified if there are mistakes. One library has a "macro guru" who spends a lot of time developing macros for staff. Among participants, everyone in technical services has what they need on their workstations, but individual installations may differ by unit and by functions performed at each workstation. While customization is useful, maintenance and troubleshooting is easier if every staff member has the same macros installed. There was some discussion of running reports using macros. Types of reports being run included old Dynix DLC and reports using SQL ReportWriter. When changing systems, a library should run as many reports on their old system as possible. Discussion concluded with mention that OCLC's switch from Passport to Connexion raised training issues.
Patron interaction with the catalog outlined some shortcomings: when compared with a database like Amazon.com, library catalogs do not do as good a job of connecting users to information. Amazon's advantages include many hits on a query, cover art, and ability to view selected content in PDF format. The library catalog's major advantage is the ability to do separate searches for authors, titles, and subjects. Participants agreed on the point that the catalog should be more like Amazon. To that end, the group recommended a number of features that would help library catalogs offer more useful information: author biographies, abstracts, tables of contents, cover art, reader reviews, and a one-click "more like this" feature. Also recommended was more title-level access in the catalog to electronic journals and regular maintenance of those records, perhaps by a commercial vendor such as SerialsSolutions.
Relations between public and technical services first focused on the point that technical services are public services, and as such are a core part of the library's function: without technical services, we could provide no public services. Our work tends to be invisible: for every patron who finds a book through the help of public service staff, how many more find what they need through the catalog and without that help? No one felt that the relationship between technical and public services staff at his or her institution is satisfactory there is a sense that public services staff are unaware of and uninterested in technical services work, and that there is a lack of reciprocity. Requests or demands from public services staff are rarely balanced by willingness to cooperate or even in some cases by basic respect. While there are wonderful exceptions to these generalizations, they unfortunately reflect reality.
The current situation in each institution depends on its particular history. Some difficulties are the result of public services attitudes of superiority and being threatened, but others have been the result of unfriendly and protective technical services personnel. There was some consensus that younger librarians are doing better in overcoming history. Some felt that public services librarians are frightened of the complexity of technical services routines and knowledge. One way to get at the current state of things is to ask, "Who controls the OPAC display? Is it shared?" Does the practice of technical services librarians working the reference desk in addition to their technical services duties improve relations between divisions, and do the benefits flow both ways? Most technical services folks felt that doing reference work helped them to understand users' needs better. Cross training can help dispel some myths. There was unanimous opinion that such work needed to be voluntary. No one felt that public services folks could contribute much to technical services work because the training period was too long.
What is to be done? Everyone felt that better communication would help, but there were few practical suggestions. Technical services units should publicize what they do and specific accomplishments to both public services and users.
Electronic Resources: Initiated procedures to change from a Discussion Group to an Interest Group. The focus of the discussion was electronic integrating resources. The first speaker presented an overview of cataloging integrating resources, giving a concise overview of the new concepts, cataloging rules, rule interpretations, and tagging practice for electronic integrating resources (updating Web sites and updating online databases), primarily from the perspective of current OCLC record creation and tagging requirements. The second speaker discussed the implementation issues related to this new cataloging workload. His presentation included background from the PCC Task Group on Implementation of Integrating Resources, the formal training that has been developed, reflections on the opportunities these resources bring to cataloging departments, and what one research library has done to implement IR cataloging. The presentations were followed by a discussion that revealed problems, and new staffing challenges as we begin to catalog and process materials under the new concept "integrating resources".
Newspaper: Focused on the digitization of newspapers. Kenning Arlitch and John Herbert from the University of Utah, and Sue Kellerman (Pennsylvania State University) shared experiences about how each institution uses software (CONTENTdm at University of Utah; OLIVE at Pennsylvania State University) to approach the digitization process at their respective sites. A broad panoply of issues was discussed, including funding, identification of newspaper titles to digitize, and staff straining for a productive workflow. A lively discussion was generated from the audience and many questions were asked spanning copyright issues, technical and implementation factors to consider when planning a digitization project.
Out-of-Print: Attracted a moderate group of attendees who were interested in the international out-of-print market. Barbara Casalini (Casalini Libri) spoke about locating and obtaining out-of-print books in Italy, where 4,300 publishers, small specialty publishers, learned societies, bank publications, and academies are located throughout the country. The book distribution network is not good, and Italy does not require that all publications have an ISBN. In 1984 over 40 percent of all Italian book published had no ISBN; by 1998, additional Italian publishers had incorporated ISBNs but more than 20 percent of the Italian publishers still did not use ISBNs. The small publishers in Italy do not want, nor do they feel a need to obtain, an ISBN, whereas Spain and France use the ISBN nationally. The National Library in Italy does not receive a copy of all published works as the Library of Congress does in the US, because there is no law that requires such a procedure. Casalini stated that the Italian Publishers Association does not have a strong voice nor do they have the required leadership to change this procedure.
In addition to the discussion about out of print books in Italy, Bill Kane discussed Bookstore Tourism. Larry Portzline organizes a group to tour bookstores in New York City. It was noted that libraries could organize bookstore tours as fundraising events.
Pre-Order and Pre-Catalog Searching: discussed exporting full biographic records at point of order vs. creating brief acquisition records. The University of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions migrated to a new ILS with a single bibliographic configuration in 2003, and conducted a survey to persuade the member libraries that exporting full bibliographic records from OCLC at the point of ordering was a better overall option than keying in brief acquisitions records in a consortia environment and to affirm that it is a standard practice in libraries.
There was unanimous agreement that:
Holdings can be added to OCLC:
People get entrenched with existing processes, and it is difficult to review and change procedures. But this is a necessary and valuable process; a campaign of persuasion is a good method to convince member libraries and library administrators of the need for revising/changing procedures. Macros (such as Macro Express) can help significantly to increase production
Role of the Professional in Academic Research Technical Services Departments: Heard three presentations, followed by question and answer sessions following each presentation. Patricia Dragon (East Carolina University) discussed "The Online Catalog: A source of frustration or an opportunity for collaboration?" Cynthia Shieh (University of the Pacific) described "Conflicts between Technical and Public Services Librarians: Similarities between the High-Tech Industry and Academic Libraries." Jin Ma (Penn State University) discussed "Metadata Workflows for Digitization Projects." There was interesting discussion and questions on each presentation.
Scholarly Communication: Heard a presentation by Dawn Talbot (Digital Library Program Development, University of California at San Diego) about scholarly communication at the University of California system level and at the local campus library level. Those present discussed various approaches to institutional repositories and digital asset management systems. Policy, preservation, statistics, content, design, faculty adoption, local support, and technical challenges arose as key issues in the discussion. At the end of the session, the group voted by acclamation to re-establish itself as an ALCTS interest group after the Orlando conference.
Technical Services Administrators of Medium-sized Research Libraries (Medium Heads): Discussed Mission Statements for Library Technical Services. JoAnne Deeken (University of Tennessee, Knoxville) described her institution's experience with mission statements. An open discussion followed. Points raised included: Who should decide whether or not the library has a mission statement and who should craft it: the chief administrator(s) of the library, or the library staff as a whole? Why should a library have a mission statement, or why not? What should a mission statement look like? What happens after a mission statement is adopted: How does the organization get buy-in from everybody? How does it monitor the organization's fulfillment of the mission?
Suggested topics for future discussion include: How to deal with a new dean? How to deal with increases and decreases in the budget? Workflows after migration to a new integrated system. Workflows to deal with electronic resources. Helping staff cope with change. Developing cooperation between cataloging and acquisitions when implementing cataloging-on-receipt. Hiring and training of support staff in technical services. The steering committee feels that several of these topics could be discussed at 2004 Annual, under the general topic: Coping with Change. The plan is to assign one of the topics to each round table and let participants choose their topic. After 45 minutes of discussion, each table will report on their discussion results.
Gifts and Exchange: Scott Wicks (Cornell) was asked to attend this meeting with the intention of guiding the Discussion Group to eventually become an ALCTS Interest Group. We had not selected a Vice-Chair prior to this meeting, and decided not to advertise it, since we did not know what the outcome would be. There were seven participants. At the meeting we went over what had been discussed before at Philadelphia and Toronto, and gave the group a choice of what they would like discussed at Orlando. The overwhelming response was to go over "gift policies" and learn to re-write current policies, to be able not to accept, as well as dispose of, unwanted library materials in an age when libraries are greatly scrutinized for doing so.
Catalog Management: Focused on basic activities and procedures involved in maintenance of the online catalog. Terry Ballard (Quinnipiac University, Conn.) discussed "The List of OPAC Typographical Errors: How it Started, and Why it will Never Stop." Ryan Finnerty and Shirley Higgins (University of California, San Diego) discussed "Ongoing Database Management Activities at UCSD." CMDG plans to continue the discussion about fundamental techniques for database maintenance at ALA Annual 2004.
Cataloging and Classification Research: The discussion topic was "Acceptability of PCC records by non-PCC libraries." Robert Ellet (Joint Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va.) led discussion based on the preliminary findings of his dissertation research, which analyzed the acceptability of PCC records by non-PCC libraries and the types of editing made to the records.
Cataloging Norms: The meeting featured three brief topical presentations and related discussion. Sylvia Ellis Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Library and Information Science, San Jose State University) described "Common Errors in MARC Records Prepared by LIS Students: What Does It Mean?" Learning to catalog challenges both graduate students and library educators. This research study focused on the identification of the most common errors among students and reviewed selected cataloging texts in order to understand potential correlations between them.
Lai-Ying Hsiung (University of California, Santa Cruz" spoke on "Batch Creation & Maintenance of MARC Aggregators in the Library Catalog," telling how the UCSC provides online access to electronic journal aggregators and packages in the local library catalog by using efficient batch processes exclusively in the creation and maintenance of MARC records. UCSC is using machine methods, with very little manual intervention, to accurately integrate incoming record sets with existing records, protecting local URLs, call numbers and other data under the single record approach, which has been a major challenge for many libraries. The strategy used is to pre-process local records to ensure correct OCLC record number record overlay, employ a specialized record loader, and make full use of the local system functionality after loading to batch modify records. To provide online access to the Lexis-Nexis package, the separate record approach is adopted to facilitate batch creation and maintenance. To help users overcome the selection of double entries for the same title on the browse screen, the "LexisNexis" qualifier is appended at the end of the GMD. Guidelines, general strategy and trends for batch record creation and maintenance were outlined.
Kimberly C. Kowal (University of Minnesota) covered "The GMD in Cartographic Materials Cataloging: Is There a Place for It?" Recent changes in AACR2 rules and OCLC policy regarding the cataloging of cartographic materials generated confusion in libraries about appropriate use of the GMD. This presentation reviewed the history of the General Material Designation since its inception, including objections to its application for map materials. Supporting these initial objections was the content/carrier debate, a concern that has resurfaced in recent discussions surrounding GMD representation of multiple formats. Several of the solutions to these difficulties, offered in recent years by practitioners, LC, AACR2R, and OCLC, were presented and compared, both from the standpoint of public service and library technical administration.
Copy Cataloging: Following an update on LC's copy cataloging achievements by Judith Mansfield, Acting Director for Cataloging, CCDG continued previous discussion on copy cataloging training, Mary Mastraccio (MARCIVE, Inc.) used examples developed during her previous position at Upper Dublin Public Library to successfully train 15 volunteers and 12 public services staff to augment a cataloging staff of one. Her presentation included breakdowns of levels of training, training issues and guidelines, and practical training methods, including an overview of MarciveWeb SELECT. Arneice Bowen (North Carolina A&T State University) covered some of the resources she has used for training, including LC's Cataloging Concepts, and presented pointers for successful training and retraining of catalogers.
Both presentations were enthusiastically received, and an open discussion followed in which audience participants shared their experiences training copy catalogers. While some use cataloging tools, most have practiced one-on-one training using locally developed instruction sheets. For Annual 2004, we are planning to invite a representative from LC to give an update on the CIP program and get feedback from audience participants.
Heads of Cataloging Departments: Heard two presentations. Phek Su (University of Florida) gave a presentation on "E2M (E-pub to MARC): Automatic Cataloging of Electronic Publications." Rebecca Mugridge (Penn State University) spoke on "Relationships Between Professional and Support Staff in Cataloging." There was a good question and answer session after each presentation. Announcements of cataloging vacancies at various institutions were announced.
MAGERT/ALCTS CCS Map Cataloging Discussion Group: Held a map cataloging question and answer session. Questions covered a wide range of map cataloging, including corporate body main entry, electronic maps, recording coordinates, geographic subject headings, and physical description notes.
Chief Collection Development Officers of Large Research Libraries: Heard reports about collections related activities by key national organizations - the Center for Research Libraries, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Library of Congress. The Library Materials Survey has been updated but has not been implemented as yet. Michael Stoller, coordinator of the survey, will use suggestions made at the meeting to shorten the survey. In the interest of keeping up on developments beyond our borders, the group invited a report from Canadian libraries. Their use of national site licensing, currency issues, size and vast distances between population centers make the situation in Canada is very different from that in the U.S. James Shulman, Executive Director of ArtSTOR, gave an informative account of the current status of ArtSTOR and its imminent roll out. Another interesting topic was the joint ARL/GPO plan to digitize important documents in the depository program, and the role that libraries may play in this effort.
Collection Development Librarians of Academic Libraries: Discussed "collection management writ large" -from selecting and licensing electronic resources, to working cooperatively with faculty, students, vendors, and other libraries. Three sets of presenters led discussions: Lisa Bowman and Peggy Cooper (Boise State) related their experiences in negotiating a consortial deal with a publisher; Reeta Sihna and Cory Tucker reported on a Serials Assessment Project at University of Nevada-Las Vegas; and Will Wheeler spoke about the need for developing new techniques for performing data analysis, and making the profession of librarianship more "evidence-based" so that collection development decisions have a sound basis. Attendees greeted the short talks with questions and lively discussion.
Collection Management in Public Libraries: Talked briefly about redundancy, in that PLA, ALCTS, and RUSA all have committees and/or discussion groups that are of interest to collection managers and selectors in public libraries. While each interest and activity seems distinct, we need to communicate with each other and try to avoid too much overlap by sharing information and activities.
CMDS is planning to develop a web-based course on the fundamentals of collection management (similar to the web-based course Fundamentals of Acquisitions). They are also considering a preconference at Annual 2005 in Chicago for beginning selectors. Any ideas to improve the CMDS Web site are welcomed. PLA is looking at posting "best practices in collection management" on their site. PLA may establish a listserv for collection development in public libraries. Upcoming continuing education opportunities include a session on Floating Collections during PLA in Seattle, and a program this summer in Orlando titled "Why Reviews?"
Centralized vs. decentralized selection: Tulsa City-County is moving to full centralization; some concerns center around staffing levels, qualifications, classification, and pay in relation to public service staff. Phoenix is totally centralized except for AV materials; they use vendor lists and have a small staff. Branch staffs perform central selection using a half-dozen journals. Their vendor supplies recent retrospective ordering information and categories. Phoenix has data on time and money saved through centralized selection; they also do an annual survey of all staff asking how well collection development seems to be meeting customer needs.
Gwinnett County and Siouxland Libraries in South Dakota are also fully centralized. Gwinnett County asks location managers to tell them what they need less of, as well as what they need more of. Dayton has mandated centralized selection, but they are holding a selection retreat to allow current selectors to have input into how the change is made.
Tulsa's title count has increased since centralization, and Phoenix is purchasing a broader range of materials. The emphasis is on buying for the whole community and the entire library system, rather than for a single branch. Central selectors are more willing to experiment than individual location selectors had been. When neighborhood branches express concerns about materials being selected, the distinction between branch and central roles needs to be emphasized, and branches need regular budget reports showing where the money is going.
Staffing has changed from a decentralized model to a centralized model: one institution did a study before centralizing and figured they were paying about $16 per title in staff time. There is a tremendous savings in terms of staff time with centralized collection management. Weeding and collection management remain the responsibility of the individual branch manager on a continuous basis. Establishing good communication between the public service staff and selection staff is critical to being successful in a centralized selection environment.
Floating Collections: Gwinnett County reported that the turnover rate is much higher with floating collections. Even when holds are permitted, there is less time in transit than when items had to be transported back to their home location. Some library systems use floating collections for their entire collections and some for select subsets of the collection. Jefferson County's floating collection works well, and they'll be presenting a program at PLA.
On the other hand, Vancouver found floating collections inequitable: titles ended up at the more affluent branches because those customers were more likely to place holds or request titles, while the customers at branches serving lower economic groups and minorities not to ask when they didn't find what they wanted. They have discontinued floating their collections.
Discussion topics proposed for next summer: Reallocation of Budgets to AV materials; Staffing - qualifications and equity for selectors
Cooperative Preservation Programs: The topic chosen was "Is It Lonely Out There? Sharing Preservation Knowledge in Times of the Ordinary and Extraordinary." The first half focused on how preservation information - mainly that related to disaster response - is made available. The need for this kind of information is particularly acute in the period immediately following disasters and is often faced by the few (or lone) preservation librarians in the area. Because of this, there is a growing need to have solid disaster preparedness and response information available to which people can be referred. The group shared information about the best (most recommended or most referred) sites, as well as new sites created by or preferred by preservation colleagues.
There followed a brief presentation containing a representative sample of Web pages (and accompanying URLs) that cover disaster preparedness and response information. Participants shared information about other Web sites and sources of information. Some participants highlighted the importance of making paper-based information resources available post-disaster in case computers and/or electricity are unavailable. Further discussion about responses to contemporary events uncovered an area of need - What do you do when your library becomes a Crime Scene? was sparked by preservation staff who had to deal with an event that closed the library to all staff as an investigation was pursued. When an event - a fire, a bomb, or even a large nature-related event - strikes a library, there can be damage to collections as well. The delay in accessing collections can often result in conditions such as mold that need timely responses if collections are to be saved. What can/should be done to help collections if a staff member is allowed into an area immediately following an event (before the library is sealed) was also addressed. This information will be codified into a publication.
The group then discussed how preservation professionals are called upon to provide preservation information about the "ordinary": public queries about how to preserve family heirlooms and treasures. UC Riverside framed the conversation by showing and explaining a presentation they have prepared on behalf of the California Preservation Program. "Hold on the Memories" was designed as an presentation that can be used for a variety of purposes, from evening workshops for the public, to half-day training workshops that teach librarians how to use the program to serve their public. The information will be made available via the California Preservation Clearinghouse for interested professionals. Discussion group participants made suggestions of what could be added to the presentation and unanimously encouraged wide use of this new tool that helps the public.
Library Binding: Generated various topic and program ideas for future meetings including:
PARS: discussed the following topics:
Recording and Photographic Media: Discussed audio preservation and a possible program in Chicago on identifying audiotapes needing preservation.
Physical Quality and Treatment of Library Materials: Shared new ideas, policies and procedures generated by the previous meeting, as well as innovative and experimental housings for print and accompanying materials that were developed using the methods demonstrated during the annual meeting in Toronto. Discussion topics ranged from working with a commercial library binder to best address the needs of music materials, to security for accompanying materials in collections. We also discussed managing preservation workflows to accommodate complicated music materials, and supply options for new techniques.
Preservation Administration: Devoted the entire meeting to the discussion of a single topic rather than a reporting session on preservation activities. Patricia Palmer Selenger introduced a discussion of Deanna Marcum's article "Research Questions for the Digital Era Library" ( Library Trends Vol. 51 Issue 4, p.636). We also discussed what elements are essential for a digital preservation program. It was suggested that we consider a joint meeting with LITA or the DLT interest group for ALA annual.
Preservation Instruction, Education and Outreach: Focused the meeting on the introduction of new technologies and teaching staff to work with vendors on digitization projects. This timely topic follows from recent renewed (or continuing) interest in the cross-over between library preservation and digitization projects, including the recent article published by John Dean in Library Trends 52(1), as well as many new services and technologies offered by vendors. After short presentations by Peter Merrill-Oldham (Acme Bindery), Joan Gatewood (University of Michigan), Lotfi Belkhir (Kirtas Technology), and Derek Jenkins (Image Retrival Inc - IIRI), open discussion followed.
A brief survey of topics of interest for future meetings was taken. Future topics may include (or not, as some topics are not highly relevant to the scope of the discussion group): 1) the organization of preservation programs within libraries; 2) the mechanizing of preservation processes; 3) differing levels of physical preparation prior to scanning projects, and how various programs set up digitization work flow; 4) an update on the Simmons College program in preservation education (taking place in April); and 5) state wide training.
Preservation Issues in Small to Mid-size Libraries: Addressed the advantages and disadvantages of designing new conservation laboratories in tandem with off-site remote storage, existing models of institutions that have already built new conservation labs, and other approaches being investigated in designing new conservation facilities. A moderator asked a panel representing various institutions to address several questions and then the discussion was opened up to all attendees. The panel featured Winston Atkins (Duke University), Jake Nadal (University of Indiana), Thomas Teper (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign), Claire Q. Bellanti (University of California Southern Regional Library Facility and UCLA Library Resource Sharing), and Patricia Smith-Hunt (Ohio University). Each speaker discussed their institution's approach to preservation and remote storage, whether they have plans for a conservation laboratory in their remote storage facility, and reasons either for or against such a facility. Several topics came up during the discussions, including how such conservation laboratories were funded, communication between the main library and the remote site, supervisory issues, and design issues.
Reformatting: focused discussion on management of reformatting projects. Lara Unger (University of Michigan) gave a presentation of the database used by Preservation Reformatting Services at the University of Michigan to track their imaging projects. Erica Behler (OCLC Digital and Preservation Resources) spoke about the process of working with a vendor in planning and implementing a reformatting project. Discussion included working with library selectors, technical requirements for project tracking databases, issues of quality control, and developing technical specifications
Research Libraries: Staged an open discussion on the impact of the electronic/print journal environment and rising journal prices on academic libraries: the problems these institutions face, and the solutions they are devising. One common thread running through the discussion was that successful library actions involved faculty/library cooperation and collaboration. Consortia may be best off contacting publishers collectively, as there is a need to present a united front. Presenting such a front may prove difficult, however, as pricing models that are good for one institution may not be as favorable for another. Additionally, as collection management efforts depend on access to consortial materials, it is important for members of consortia to keep in touch with what the other members are doing.
This was a far-ranging discussion involving a wide range of institutions. It is hoped that this fruitful and educational discussion can lead to collaborative efforts, developing tools to manage electronic resources, and also to cultivating united fronts that are representative of the whole institution or consortia's interests when discussing, handling and negotiating content and prices for electronic and print resources.