Midwinter Forums

Author Steve Berry keynotes Preservation Week Kick-Off 2012

Amy Castillo, Texas Christian University

This year’s ALCTS Forum keynote speaker was the bestselling author Steve Berry, who was named national spokesperson for Preservation Week 2012. ALCTS President Betsy Simpson started the Forum by presenting Berry with a citation recognizing this role.

Berry then spoke about his experience as a fiction writer and the process of putting together his books. His interests lie heavily in themes revolving around international conspiracy and suspense. Researching for each book usually demands that he read large quantities of historical sources, sometimes including primary materials in archives. This work led Berry and his wife, Elizabeth, to begin History Matters, an organization that provides funding to the preservation projects of cultural and historic institutions around the country. Berry explained that neglect of historical artifacts diminishes our cultural heritage and is a prime example of why preservation is important. History Matters provides financial assistance to projects such as repairing the roof of a preservation society, provide cultural programs within county libraries, and preparing an online finding-aid at the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site. Using their considerable experience and knowledge about writing and publishing, the Berrys teach writing seminars and workshops. All money generated from these events is donated to the preservation project. History Matters has helped with fifteen projects so far and try to host between six and eight events per year.

Berry allowed plenty of time for questions and answers during the forum. His advice for those who want to get a novel published: “don’t quit” and instead of writing what you know, “write what you love.” His latest book, The Columbus Affair, will be released May 15.

Alternatives to the Big Deal: Implementing Pay-Per-View Collection Management

Ginger Williams, Wichita State University

As Collection Management Section Forum moderator Ann Okerson pointed out, Big Deals are valuable to libraries because they provide many resources with less staff time than individual title purchasing. However, many libraries can’t sustain the financial commitment and are reconsidering the Big Deal. The return to title-by-title purchasing requires more staff time, which often has been reallocated to meet other needs, and requires creative thinking by librarians to continue providing faculty and students with resources to which they have grown accustomed and which they need.

Chrysanne Lowe of Elsevier discussed the models of journal pricing that Elsevier uses; other publishers use similar mixes of pricing options. The most costly option is the Freedom Collection, a Big Deal including all Elsevier journals. While expensive, this option offers the lowest cost per article and is the best value for libraries which need extensive research information. Another option is Article Choice, a pay-per-view model where libraries buy the right to download a certain number of articles. This option is more expensive per article, but offers predictable costs. A third option is custom collections with transactional access. With this option, libraries subscribe to certain titles and purchase the right to download a certain number of articles from non-subscribed titles, blending the Big Deal with pay-per-view. As Chrysanne pointed out, each pricing model offers benefits and has limitations, so librarians should discuss options with publishers. She encouraged librarians to select the most comprehensive access they can afford in order to support increasingly interdisciplinary and data-intensive researchers.

Marvin Pollard of California State University (CSU) discussed “Get It Now,” a just-in-time article fulfillment system that CSU worked with the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) to develop. CSU has 23 campuses and spent $32 million on information resources in FY2011. But even CSU can’t afford Big Deals with every publisher and for every campus, so ILL is heavily used, too. In FY2009, CSU discovered that half of the material ILL borrowed was not used; the time lapse between requesting an ILL and receiving it seemed to reduce the chance of the researcher actually using the material. Today, when a researcher uses the library link resolver to search for full-text, the Get It Now option is presented if the article is not available at CSU but is available through CCC. When a patron selects Get It Now, the article is delivered within minutes. Get It Now is flexible; some campuses offer it as an unmediated service to all students and employees, while others provide it unmediated only to graduate students and faculty. CSU calculates that Get It Now is less expensive than traditional ILL (less labor) and the usage statistics allow librarians to quickly determine if they need to add subscriptions.

Beth Bernhardt of UNC Greensboro commented that pay-per-view is déjà vu for her; she implemented it in 2002, moved to Big Deals when the Carolina Consortium was formed in 2005–2006, and now is working to re-establish pay-per-view as budget cuts are making the Big Deals unsustainable. UNC-Greensboro started pay-per-view because the university was growing fast (FTE 10,000 in 2002 and 18,500 in 2011); librarians weren’t sure what subscriptions many new researchers needed but wanted to offer more titles and backfiles. Researchers wanted quicker access to articles than ILL could provide. Pay-per-view met researcher needs while providing librarians with usage statistics to make collection development decisions. By 2004, UNC-Greensboro was offering pay-per-view to more than three-thousand titles from seven publishers. Access was through the ERMS or OPAC; patrons were authenticated when they requested a pay-per-view article, and received a brief notification that the library would be paying for it. Some of the issues UNC-Greensboro faced were less budget predictability, potential for abuse, and barriers to use such as clunky interfaces. Despite these concerns, pay-per-view was deemed a success. In 2002, the library paid $28,762 for articles, while subscribing to all the journals would have cost more than $200,000. Examining usage statistics revealed that patrons ordered fewer than five articles from 84 percent of the journals; they ordered 10 or more articles from only 7 percent of journals, which was the threshold the library had set as needing to review a title for a possible subscription. Now that UNC-Greensboro is leaving some of its Big Deals, Beth is beginning to negotiate with publishers to re-establish pay-per-view. Beth encouraged librarians who institute pay-per-view to assign someone to monitor usage regularly for potential abuse, although the only actual problems they encountered involved a few people who downloaded entire journal issues instead of specific articles. Those cases resulted in one-on-one coaching by librarians to explain the system.

Ryan Weir explained how Murray State University uses a mix of access-only Big Deals, custom collections, and pay-per-view to maximize information access for a medium-size university. Since Murray State is not a research-intensive university, the library opted to pay for access, not ownership of e-journals. They’ve protected their database budget to ensure discoverability. They have an Elsevier custom collection with transactional access provision in license, so they use pay-per-view for non-subscribed Elsevier articles. Each department has a login for pay-per-view, allowing faculty to have immediate access to articles. Students can obtain articles by e-mailing their liaison librarian. Murray State has found that pay-per-view works well for low-use titles and is carefully expanding the program, but Ryan emphasized that Murray State has no intention of dropping all subscriptions.

In response to audience questions, the panel reiterated that Get It Now is flexible and can be set up for either mediated or unmediated use. Murray State investigated Deep Dive when it was new, but Deep Dive was unable to participate in a pay-per-view pilot because publisher contracts did not allow them to work with mid-size academic libraries. UNC-Greensboro has not abandoned Big Deals completely, but they moved from comprehensive subscriptions to subject collections for some publishers and are hoping to add pay-per-view for titles not in the subject collections. CSU has found that 75 percent of Get It Now requests are submitted when ILL offices are closed at night, on weekends, or during holidays, which suggests one reason that many unused ILL items may have been delayed deliveries. To a query about the complexity of pay-per-view as a barrier to use, Beth said that most interfaces were just a couple of clicks. More complicated interfaces and ones that showed the cost of an article were used less; Ryan remarked faculty rarely have difficulty once they get authenticated the first time.

In response to a question about administration reaction to using acquisitions budget for material that the library doesn’t keep, Ryan said that Murray State administration was quite flexible on budgets and saw pay-per-view as a way to help attract and retain faculty. The final question, about savings realized by cancelling Big Deals in favor of pay-per-view, Beth commented that UNC-Greensboro only cancels Big Deals if they have decided that they will not place individual subscriptions for 50 percent of the titles; she anticipates spending from 10 to 20 percent of the savings into pay-per-view to ease the pain of cancellations for faculty.

Bibliographic Control: A Meeting between Educators and Practitioners

Heather Moulaison, University of Missouri

The meeting, cosponsored by ALCTS and ALISE, was organized by task force members Heather Moulaison, University of Missouri; Tony Olson, Northwestern University; Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, University of Minnesota; Bruce Chr. Johnson, Library of Congress; Kathryn La Barre, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Moderator Dr. Arlene G. Taylor began by establishing the context of the program. In section 5.2.1 of “On the Record,” the 2008 report to the Library of Congress, there had been a call to communicate with LIS educators. This program is the direct result of that recommendation. The presentations are available at (http://connect.ala.org/node/116480) and (http://connect.ala.org/node/43).

Shilpa Rele, Digital Program Librarian at Loyola Marymount University, spoke about her experiences as a new metadata librarian at the University of Miami, and how she arrived at her current position. She explained that as a library school student, she valued theoretical instruction in her classes that was complemented by invited speakers who were practicing professionals. Also of note were the three internships that Shilpa participated in as a student. During her first position at UM, Shilpa continued to learn and participated in professional development opportunities. She also sought leadership positions within ALCTS, and served as ALCTS’s Emerging Leader in 2010.

The second speaker was Beth Picknally Camden, Goldstein Director of Information Processing at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries and active long-time member of ALCTS. Beth, a member of the Technical Services Directors of Large Research Libraries Interest Group (Big Heads), had informally polled members to learn how best to express the needs and expectations of those hiring librarians in the field of bibliographic control. Not all of her Big Heads colleagues had hired new graduates recently. The economic situation, changes in funding, types of positions offered, and reorganizations had made this a less straightforward question for colleagues to answer. Colleagues looked for new hires to have a basic knowledge of the big picture: RDA, changes to the bibliographic framework, FRBR, metadata, and coding/programming. Internships and practicums were very important to Big Heads colleagues as well.

The final speaker was Dr. June Abbas, Associate Professor at the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Abbas began by describing the interactive and engaging classes that she teaches. For her, there is always a concern with balancing theory and practice when teaching. When constructing a curriculum, there are differing perspectives that must be taken into account, including those of practitioners, the ALA, educators, and the students themselves. Questions remain about what is actually being taught in courses and what can or even should be left out while still permitting students to follow the career path of their choice. A major problem is that fewer PhDs in information organization or cataloging are being granted, resulting in fewer instructors who have a background in this area.

Following the presentations there were questions and comments from the audience. They included:

  • There is a need to hire new graduates who possess skills and have competencies that are not already possessed in-house.
  • New catalogers need to understand the big picture, have independent problem solving skills, and how to use tools and new communication methods such as Twitter. They also need new perspectives, such as focusing on large datasets as opposed to record-by-record creation of metadata.
  • The quality of online cataloging courses should be improved and there should be more of them, keeping in mind that this will require more time on the part of faculty.

Discovering and Cataloging Repositories and Unique Collections: An Update on Standards, Preservation, and Usage

Louise Ratliff, UCLA

This program cosponsored by the CRS Committee on Holdings Information and the CRS Standards Committee featured three speakers slated to discuss three loosely related topics: auditing of digital repositories, testing RDA with non-MARC metadata, and counting usage statistics for articles in hosted repositories.

Marie-Elise Waltz, Special Projects Librarian, Center for Research Libraries, gave an overview and update about auditing digital repositories at CRL. She referred to an RLG report (2002) about Trusted Digital Repositories, then gave a brief overview of ISO 16363, a draft standard based on the Trusted Digital Repositories and Audit Checklist.

It is an OAIS draft document about conformance and mandatory responsibilities of the repository. “An audit evaluates the administration and policies, object handling and technical infrastructure of a repository.” (See Waltz comments.) She described the organization and logistics of the CRL auditing process, the standards used, and future plans for CRL repositories auditing. Thus far, two repositories have been certified as in compliance with ISO 16363: HathiTrust, and Portico.

Melanie Wacker, Metadata Coordinator, Columbia University Libraries, reported on Cataloging Unique Collections with RDA and Non-MARC standards. As participants in the 2010 U.S. RDA test, Columbia University catalogers followed RDA to create Dublin Core and EAD records. They found that the RDA core elements were not well represented in the non-MARC records. According to DLF Aquifer guidelines, “metadata about content and digital and analog carriers all appear in the main record;” RDA would require two records, one for the original and one for the digital reproduction, thus adding to the workload. When describing a cultural heritage object, such as an image of a building, it is not possible to fit the resource into the FRBR model. An example is an image of a drawing of a building which is printed on a leaf of stationary containing an invoice for a company. In summary, they were not happy with the current RDA rules, but the value vocabularies were useful. RDA core elements seemed to be designed for published resources. They hope to see best practices emerge for cataloging cultural objects using RDA.

Gary Van Overborg, founder, Scholarly iQ, described the PIRUS Project, the goal of which is to create a program and platform for generating and sharing usage statistics for individual articles hosted by publishers and repositories. PIRUS has been funded by JISC, the UK Joint Information Systems Committee. There is great interest in and support for metrics for article-level usage by authors and publishers. Van Overborg described the basic methodology for collecting statistics, and the role of the Central Clearing House where usage data is collected and stored. For more information, see his December 2011 presentation.

High-Density Storage Emergency Planning

Tara Kennedy

Creating emergency plans for high-density storage facilities has been a challenge eluding high-density storage managers and preservation departments since the facilities were first built in the mid- to late 1990s. The ninety-minute PARS Forum unveiled emergency planning experiences from a variety of institutions who have attempted to tackle this momentous task. Highlights from each speaker’s talk follow.

Jennifer Hain Teper, Head of Conservation Unit and Interim Head of Preservation, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Planning at UIUC began in 2009 primarily due to concerns with adding special collections materials to their HD facility. At this point, their plan is functional, but there are still “holes” that she addresses in challenges.

UIUC really began their planning with risk analysis with their engineering department to make sure that they were planning for the right kind of disaster. The engineers’ risk analysis demonstrated that tornado and misfiring of fire suppression systems were realistic possibilities. This report allowed library officials to look analytically at the situation, rather than assuming which disasters were the most likely to occur.

Identification of special collections material in HD storage is difficult because they are dispersed throughout the module for security purposes. UIUC did do a statistical study to best estimate where their high risk and high value collections are located in case of a disaster. It involved complicated math and statisticians. UIUC also studied water dynamics in case of water discharge and not surprisingly materials closest to sprinkler heads would be most at risk. The nature of water damage, how heavy the materials were, how much would launch off shelves, etc. were all part of writing the plan.


  • Approached plan to be as scalable and flexible as possible. Different approaches for different disasters. Guidance and ideas— didn’t want to be too prescriptive. The plan gives a lot of tips so they were written down. People could pick and choose what would be applicable to the situation at hand.
  • Impact on the rest of the library. Got the library to agree to follow H1N1 guidelines—staff could help with the disaster and they would shut down the library in order to get folks to help.
  • A lot of buy in—administration agreed that if there were a disaster it would be OK if there were no access to the materials for at least a year whether or not they were directly affected. Owe a lot of this to Laura Larkin, their former conservator.

Three tiered approach:

  1. shock and awe (during a nice lunch)
  2. I\individually to every person and their back up and what they need—how can you help and what do you need
  3. got back together to discuss and plan

This planning got preservation involved in the actual construction of third module—except for the mobile shelving. Helped us approach and get over some of the hurdles in the other modules:

  • alternate exits
  • smoke evacuation
  • floor drains built in
  • risk management to look at fire walls between the vaults for minimal risk from fire


  • Staffing changes—hard for new staff that weren’t involved in making the plan. Nuances are not translating.
  • Plan a little bit too prescriptive. People wanted scripts, but not practical.
  • Getting forms together for insurance, renting equipment—can be difficult to assemble.
  • Tracking materials—how to keep inventory control? Going to have to be trial by fire with an Excel template. Tracking is really important!

Other tips:

  • Smoke evacuation is a big deal—smoke is blinding;
  • Let go of the details as they can be paralyzing—be flexible;
  • Share ideas! The more we talk about it, the better our plans will be.

Jacob Nadal was recently appointed Director of Library and Archives at Brooklyn Historical Society. The former preservation officer at University of California Los Angeles, he spoke from his former experience with the New York Public Library and Research Collections and Preservation Consortium (ReCAP).

  • The plan can’t be prescriptive. The number of variables make it difficult
  • Myth of “completeness and consistency.” Almost universally false and disaster brings that to light
  • HD facilities they are not just collections storage facilities. Collections and library operations happen there as well such as courier services, ILL, etc. Disasters have a huge impact. Affects all core library services. Business continuity approach is best for these types of facilities.

The ReCAP approach was a formalized process with three big stakeholders—Princeton, NYPL, and Columbia. The process focused on the highest recovery within acceptable timeline. Timeline recovery—discover what is not essential quickly. Structural integrity was high on the list is key. Weight of collection due to water—get structural evaluation of shelving immediately.

Plan pack out—the pack out can be an ongoing reveal of the problems that occurred during that disaster. Expect that there will be mold issues. Collection materials on the outside and inside of shelves will be very different in terms of water damage. Pack out would be a “hot potato” approach—every person in the pack out would ask a simple question pertaining to the box of damaged materials in front of them. For example, “Is there any media in here?” if no, then it would be passed to the next person who would then ask, “Are there photographs in here?” If there are, then that box would go with all of the other boxes containing photographs to avoid the possibility of those materials accidentally getting freeze-dried. Pack out would be untrained folks who don’t know preservation or libraries which is why they were making the pack out questions super simple.

Also important is the care of staff so that people can still perform library work. They worked closely with Human Resources at Princeton, which could supply free counseling, child care and elder care, if needed. Disaster recovery can be long hours and arduous work. It is important to have rest areas and rest breaks. It is important to recognize dependents and who can answer questions about these dependents, e.g. system recovery if they are not available.

Beatriz Haspo, Collections Manager, Library of Congress. Library of Congress has HD storage with collection-specific modules, with holdings around 30 million. LoC already has an emergency response plan for the repositories on Capitol Hill, but they needed a plan to deal with an emergency at their HD storage, especially challenging for them as their storage facility is in Fort Meade, a military base.

In 2009, there was an incident for in their cold storage area where a sprinkler went off accidentally. They have termed it a “successful failure” in that there was efficient response to the disaster. What helped the situation was that it took place in middle of day. There were damaged books and boxes and they were able recover all materials -- 157 boxes. What also helped their situation is that their trays have lids that protected the books from the water. So, the books were not very wet due to the lids and the quick response to the emergency.

This emergency provided LoC the opportunity to discuss disaster recovery planning further at their facility in case this happened not so perfectly. LoC developed formal, large water-inclusion response teams. The lines of communications and different stakeholders are quite numerous: building owner, police, office of emergency preparedness, operations and safety team, preservation directorate, library services, and the army base. They had a number of meetings to establish the protocol for action for all of these stakeholders. It is helpful to understand the difficulty of the role of each stakeholder. They decided to create a communication protocol and use color-coding. They assigned a color for each stakeholder so it was easily visible on the protocol chart what each group was responsible for. The lines of communications are very important because of the size of the institution—critical to establish.

In these modules, there are special collections and lots of different formats—complex challenges for response. There is at this time not a finalized plan, but a commitment to keep staff trained to be the first responders. There are established protocols for different size events, included hazardous and biological events that might happen. They worked with the military base to make sure that the base operations were in agreement with the Library’s operations. The Preservation Dictorate has a contract with Belfor to be able to respond including collections. They used an RFP to secure this contract and Beatriz is willing to share parts of that RFP if people are interested.

Lee Anne Hooley, Document Delivery and JSTOR Librarian Manager of Harvard University High Density Storage. Harvard’s HD facilities include approximately 8.6 million volumes in 15 modules, with the most recent module built in 2009.

Their facility has some challenging risks. There has been flooding from weather-related issues; the facility has a flat roof, so snow doesn’t pitch. Another risk is security breach issues. Their facility shares the campus with a New England animal-testing facility which is susceptible to protestors. Because of this issue, the facilities are in lock down most of the time, so security is high. Their facility is also near a small airport so there is the potential for a plane crash as well.

What prompted the need for an emergency plan was a roof leak back in 2008. Nothing was heavily damaged, but 317 items and 280 books were affected. To start, they discussed risks with folks affiliated with the university. They went to d-Plan (a tool to assist with writing emergency response plans, created and maintained by the NEDCC) to make a plan, but quickly realized that it wouldn’t be practical to have a plan that was 150-pages long. So, they are currently working on making a small flip book with information that would be needed immediately during the course of an emergency, e.g., directions to the facility, important phone numbers.

They do have an excellent emergency response team that can get there in about two hours. They also have an emergency supply cabinet that contains gloves, plastic sheeting, and other supplies so facility staff is able to start triage on about two hundred books. It is also helpful that their Operations Manager is also a lieutenant at the local fire department.

The four speakers took questions and answers after the presentations.

This PARS forum was recorded and is available online at http://alcts.ala.org/meetings/12-Jan20_PARSforum.wmv. In order to view it, you may need to download the GoToMeeting Codec at https://www4.gotomeeting.com/codec?Portal=www.gotomeeting.com

What Does Electronic ILL Mean to You?

Kay Granskog, Michigan State University Libraries

Cochair Liz Lorbeer started the January 23 Publisher-Vendor-Library Relations (PVLR) Interest Group Forum with the question, “What does electronic ILL mean to you?”

Nora Dethloff, University of Houston, gave an overview of ILL processes including a common e-resource license provision requiring libraries to print out e-articles, and scan before sending. E-books frequently have no loan provision, and if they do, they are cumbersome. Nora wishes for:

  • Publishers to understand that ILL does not threaten sales
  • Respect of our (copy)rights
  • Don’t make me jump through hoops to send material we own
  • Same rules apply for everything, everywhere, allowing for a standard workflow.

Cherie L. Weible, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, focused on the technological aspect of sending e-books via ILL. Current e-book licenses may allow for chapters to be sent, but files can be too large to send, possibly prohibiting a loan. Limiting e-book access to IP address prevents libraries from sending a link that could expire, which would be an easy way to share.

She encouraged vendors and publishers to develop technology to accommodate ILL. Libraries need smaller files deliverable to multiple e-readers in PDF, longer loan periods, renewal functions, expanded options for changing access after purchase, portable notes, and discoverability through our local catalog.

Katie Birch, OCLC, noted that ILL is about getting users what they want in a timely way. Libraries attempt this by delivering resources electronically, just-in-time purchasing, and permitting short-term access to e-resources.

OCLC recently launched the new cloud-based Article Exchange, seeking to share articles with rules to govern use uniformly and within copyright and licensing. The software checks who has the article, if it is lendable, and delivery requirements. OCLC and Ingram partnered to allow the option to supply a short-term loan of an e-book in minutes, but only for nine days.

Trina Wilson, MyILibrary, Ingram Library Services, suggested that vendors can provide an interface to manage short-term loans. Ingram joined the OCLC program and has 55,000 short-term loan titles available. Publishers are still reticent to join, however, believing loans stall sales. Given publisher fears, Trina asked what would happen if once the e-book were out on loan, the lender library did not have access to the resource until the lending duration expired. The answer, unfortunately, went unanswered.

Kim Steinle then opened the floor for questions, which largely centered on two topics. First was the mechanics of short-term loan for ILL and what would make this attractive (In PDF, longer loan periods, cost of loan contributing to eventual purchase). Secondly, a publisher asked why librarians believe ILL is not a threat to sales. The answers were varied:

  • Exposure to information generates use/sales
  • Libraries review ILL statistics for missed purchases
  • Academic libraries don’t purchase based on what can’t be obtained via lending.

Academic librarians noted they admire presses who let them borrow. One librarian wondered if there was a way to collect data on how often exposure via ILL produced a sale.

The discussion could only last as long as the program, but these issues need to be resolved. One librarian noted that cooperative collection development will fall apart if we can’t share and the long tail will go out of business. See related coverage in the PVLR Interest Group Report.