Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Library’s Buzz

Dani Guzman, Ex Libris

November was the month of the annual Charleston Conference, three days of thought-provoking presentations on the present and future of the library arts. Of course, Ex Libris was there – and we will shortly be sharing what we see as the key takeaways. Another important year-end event is the release of the Library Journal magazine’s Year in Architecture review, noting the trends and hard data on library design.  One unusual library building we read about this month is housed in a former nuclear bunker – but it’s for a very good reason. Moving from the physical space to the intellectual one, the Buzz also looks at two large-scale societal issues – information literacy and sustainability – and how they impact the modern library. Last, but not least, a surprise that reveals the librarian’s inner jokester.

This year’s Charleston Conference, held at the Francis Marion Hotel in Charleston, South Carolina, touched on library assessment, resource preservation, big data, open access, and more. Read here about how the Library Journal’s Meredith Schwartz saw the conference, which she summarized as “a big tent” event.  Then, listen to the Ex Libris perspective on the Charleston Conference with the Trends and Takeaways webcast. Signup for the on-demand webinar here >>>

Library Journal released its Year in Architecture review of library construction projects completed in 2016, noting especially that architects have been focusing on creating a variety of open spaces.  The magazine provides a quick overview of the report, as well as in-depth data for academic and public libraries, as well as a list of the architects whose work was reviewed this year. Get all the information here >>>

One of the most interesting library buildings is undoubtedly the National Audiovisual Conservation Center, part of the Library of Congress, which is housed in a former nuclear bunker. The thick walls and impenetrable cells, initially intended to preserve America’s gold and leaders for a post-apocalypse future, are now dedicated to preserving Apocalypse Now and tens of thousands of other films from oblivion. Preservation, says the curator of the library’s oldest films, “is to make sure that we remember.” Watch a short clip on the center here >>>

In a blog post on Knowledge Quest, the website of the Journal of the American Association of School Librarians, Sara Stevenson highlights the importance of critically examining websites and information peddled unchecked on the internet. She notes the role librarians must play, drawing on their unique experience actively promoting information literacy, as “the gatekeepers and guides of information.” Read more here >>>

Touching on another great issue of our day, a Library Journal editorial calls for collaboration within and among libraries for the sake of environmental sustainability. Editorial Director Rebecca T. Miller asks what can be done now, offers a resource to get some answers, and calls upon us all to “build paths to that future.” Find out what you can do here >>>

Finally, alongside all that cutting edge thought leadership and technology talk, we all know that librarians can be a bit silly – but they do it with a knowing smile. Check out the pics here >>>

Monday, November 28, 2016

Boston University: A Little Disruptive Change Goes a Long Way in Digital Librarianship

We have all seen how changing technologies can lead – unintentionally and over time – to compounded inefficiencies in managing digital and electronic resources. That is what happened at Boston University, with its 15 schools and nearly two million electronic resources, just a few years ago. 

The library staff was working with a homegrown system for electronic journals, a remotely managed DSpace repository for original research documents by university students and faculty, and yet another storage system for digital images and music. In addition, the descriptive metadata for the DSpace items was not synchronized with the data for the physical assets, and the electronic hardware for storing digital images and music was reaching the end of life. For the university’s print materials stored off-site, meanwhile, retrieval costs were becoming quite high. The system had become both cumbersome and backlogged.

So, with a combination of frustration and foresight, the librarians developed a set of criteria for introducing some much-needed disruptive change:

  •          Simplify
  •          Streamline
  •          Introduce resource coherence
  •          Create a more interactive experience for students and faculty

In addition, in order to measure the actual effects of what they wanted to introduce, the library staff sought out analytic tools that would provide actionable feedback.

With these prerequisites in mind, they decided to implement Ex Libris’ Alma library management solution. As it uses a single system for managing digital objects in both third-party and local systems, all course reserves are managed and stored with a common bibliographic record and digital representation.

New Alma-based workflows and organizational structures introduced the systemic coherence they were looking for, which improved search capabilities and streamlined accessibility, as well as simplifying maintenance of digital representations of public domain publications.

For Boston University libraries, centralizing and simplifying resource management increased efficiency, reduced university expenses, and cut down on costly retrieval requests.

According to Jack Ammerman, Associate University Librarian for Digital Initiatives and Open Access at Boston University, “We are now doing things that would have been difficult or impossible with our previous system.”

Digital Librarianship: What’s Next?

Clearly, creating, maintaining and managing electronic records and digital assets is becoming consistently more and more critical in academic librarianship. Major universities will also be able to more easily and regularly share their resources through such initiatives as the Open Content Alliance (OCA), a global collaborative effort to build a permanent archive of multilingual digitized text and multimedia material.

In fact, peering further into the future, physical resources will have a progressively smaller footprint at major research libraries. Print assets are being digitized rapidly and new media collections are expanding with each advance in modern technology. This indicates that the focus of academic research will continue to shift to digital scholarship, with an emphasis on data mining, analysis, and synthesis.

In the meantime, even as the library stacks continue to serve an important role, academic librarians need to be considering solutions for digital challenges we can only currently imagine.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Fearing Change? It’s Only Natural

Kevin Stehr, Vice President, ProQuest

Change is always around the corner – so why do we resist it so consistently?

Harvard Business Review tackled that questions in 2012 and came up with their Top Ten reasons – many of which sound so familiar in a library environment. They list “loss of control,” “everything seems different,” “more work” and the ever-popular fear of surprise as some of the main drivers of angst.
Taken into a more narrowed context, these fears speak to the needs of both your patrons and your institution, and the issues span every type of library.
- A public library, for instance, may wonder if change will affect the usage of their collection...  if it requires much training... if it simplifies (or complicates) in-house and remote access... and if it does any damage to their already strapped budget.
- An academic library could be concerned about whether change in the collection will affect the curriculum... what the faculty might say to new or different resources... whether they can afford a transition... and the impact of the change on learning management systems.
- For a K12 library, a large focus of anxiety might center on whether the change supports state, federal and district teaching mandates – and how to best train teachers and students on new research resources.
- In a community college library, the worries over change could point to how the resources will serve a diverse user base... whether the content fully supports the library’s mission in terms of both academics and workforce training... and if the ROI tied to the transition can be demonstrated.
And crossing all these concerns is the universal question: Will this affect the way I do my job?

Knocking down the barriers to change

While resistance to change is natural, having a Change Management plan can take a lot of the heat off the transition. 
At its root, Change Management represents the process, tools & techniques to manage the people-side of change to achieve a required business outcome (as opposed to project management, which addresses specific activities and milestones).
Change Management has its basis in a step-by-step process that addresses initial awareness of the need for change right through to desire, knowledge, action and reinforcement. Communications, coaching and training all enter into the process, helping ensure that even those who feared or rejected change initially end up fully understanding what is transpiring in their workplace.  
And does it work? As the Change Management experts at Prosci note, “of the 245 research participants who reported having excellent change management effectiveness, 94% met or exceeded project objectives.”

Support from change experts

Done right, Change Management makes a transition smooth while providing support for everyone involved, from library director to everyday patron – that’s because you’re not entering into the process alone. I realized the benefits when I became certified in Change Management; my staff is also getting certified to help our customers make the transition from their current state to a future state that meets their strategic or economic priorities.  
And yes, you might find that change affects how you do your job – but for the better.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Space Reclamation is a Change Driver in Libraries

Kevin Stehr, Vice President, ProQuest

A sweeping survey of space reclamation

  • “There are things we could provide to students and faculty if only we had more space available.”
  • “We’ve given up some of our areas to other university groups, so space has become a premium item.”
  • “Balancing use of space is key – there are many competing needs!”
Those remarks and many more came from 608 librarians spanning academic, school, public and community college libraries surveyed by ProQuest from June to September 2016. 
The findings are available in this new whitepaper and were clarified at a “lively lunch” at this year’s Charleston Conference. 

A topic on everyone’s mind

“The needs of our users are the main reasons for reclamation projects.”
Given that space issues are a major driver of change in libraries, we asked our survey participants a few pointed questions and got some eye-opening answers:

  • Percentage (combined) calling space reclamation “very important” or “important”: 87.5
  • Percentage that say space reclamation is a priority or will be in the near future: 82
  • Percentage using reclaimed space for collaboration spaces: 83
  • Percentage planning to build makerspaces/hackerspaces: 25
And how many libraries are seeing increased funding specifically for more space? Just six percent.

What’s driving this change?

“We hope to rearrange and possibly rebuild much of the library to provide study and consultation room.”
According to our survey, the most popular driving force for space reclamation (at 48 percent) is direct user feedback and request. In a nutshell, people want their library updated and upgraded for today’s collaborative needs. 

  • But budget also plays into the initiative. Some 23 percent of participants said budget demands – typically spurred by shrinking funding – contributed to a more strategic use of library space, which ties into the concept of doing more with less. 
  • And others (16 percent) have been inspired by other libraries who are benefitting from space reclamation.

Where’s that space coming from?

"While we are weeding our print collection, it should be noted that there is not a move to get rid of print assuming electronic is the better format. We are being very thoughtful in our process — print is not dead.”
Something’s got to give when recasting library space, and most often that something is print.

  • A large majority (65 percent) of the surveyed said that weeding print material and offering titles in electronic format is the key to their efforts.
As for the kind of print being retired, the largest margins go to historical periodicals (81 percent), government documents (60 percent) and historical newspapers (34 percent). That stands to reason – as such documents age, they are at risk for damage and disintegration; at the same time, scholars are increasingly accustomed to finding their historical content digitized online.

  • Print books account for some 19 percent of material retired to create more space. But, as a librarian in Montgomery, Alabama, reiterates: “Print is not dead.”

Where is the resistance coming from?

Surprisingly, money wields relatively little influence. Only 25 percent of the surveyed librarians named “budget” as a challenge in space reclamation efforts. More pressing is the lack of “time, staff, plans and other resources” (39 percent).
Notably, 29 percent of respondents listed “resistance to change” from faculty, students and others in the academic community as a roadblock to space reclamation.
As I mentioned in a prior blog post, resistance to change is only natural, but it can be overcome. Everyone goes through 5 stages of change: Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Action, and Reinforcement. What we often find in space reclamation projects is that typically a universal awareness that space reclamation needs to happen. However, getting everyone on board with the desire to make it a reality is a hurdle many libraries face.  

“Pardon our dust”

Even when space is being reallocated, librarians must consider the short-term effect on their communities. Some projects can disrupt workflow for staff and patrons alike.

  • One library faced months of dust, diesel fumes, and jackhammers. Once the project ends, said the librarian, “we hope the only issue will be getting used to the new spaces and finding out where everything moved to.”

The definition of space reclamation success

“Students not needing to sit on windowsills – unless it’s by choice!”
For all the dust and disruption, space reclamation remains a key priority in libraries that are committed to change. 
Among many surveyed librarians, creating a community of happy, productive users defines a successful initiative. Participants also spoke to defending their new spaces from other academic departments who would want to sublet the library’s upgraded areas for their own use.

Don’t let resistance to change hold progress back

Concerns of the potential impact of lost print books, the impact to faculty and researchers, how the actual space should be used...all are questions posed by library staff. Recognizing this reality, an effective Change Management strategy mirrors your efforts to move forward with space reclamation – and clarifies your role as a library leader to help your team overcome anticipated objections.
At its root, Change Management represents the process, tools, and techniques to manage the people-side of change to achieve a required business outcome. Communications, coaching and training all enter into the process, helping ensure that even those who feared or rejected change initially end up fully understanding what is transpiring in their workplace.  
And does it work? As the Change Management experts at Prosci note, “of the 245 research participants who reported having excellent change management effectiveness, 94% met or exceeded project objectives.”

Know more about change

From space reclamation to digital upgrades, ProQuest is dedicated to creating beneficial change for libraries and their researchers – and we back our promise with team members trained and certified in Change Management techniques. Is your library contemplating a transition?
This blog post was originally published on the ProQuest Blog

Thursday, November 17, 2016

From the Developer’s Toolbox: Highlights from the Ex Libris Developer Network

In this edition of From the Developer’s Toolbox, we are pleased to highlight the University of Western Australia’s idea for working more effectively with PubMed and the Alma resource management system. Our own R&D team has also been sharing some new tips on how to get the most out of Alma, such as using social networks for login, handling Dublin Core metadata records for digital resources, and generating API usage reports.

The University of Western Australia explains how best to set up openURL linking between PubMed, the biomedical literature citation clearinghouse, and Alma to quickly identify accessible resources. The university’s development team provides a list of the steps they took to use PubMed’s LinkOut tool, which they suggest is the more broadly useful of two available linking options. Read more here >>>

Ex Libris’ Josh Weisman highlights that library staff can now log in to Alma using social networks, such as Google and Facebook. This development is an integral part of Ex Libris efforts to support user-friendly methods of authentication (see our recent blog post on overcoming “password fatigue”). Weisman describes the methodology for adding this single sign-in functionality to Alma, including allowing third-party applications to leverage social login via Alma. Read more here >>>

Opher Kutner, an analyst with Ex Libris, outlines a method for using Excel files for batch loading Dublin Core metadata records in Alma (for basic information about Alma digital metadata files, see here).  The post is intended for those who want to use Excel spreadsheets to create a Dublin Core XML file with minimal effort and do not have the expertise to create macros. Read more here >>>

The Alma API development dashboard has been updated to include detailed API usage reports, which allow you to track your API calls over time. A current activity report indicates if you're close to reaching your API governance threshold in near-real time, while a historical report provides information on past activity so you can identify potentially problematic application trends. The post shows what these new reports look like and how to generate them. Read more here >>>

Find many more useful information and resources on the Ex Libris Developer Network Tech Blog

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Discovery and Access Landscape: NISO – Where the Community Comes Together

Christine Stohn, Product Manager Discovery & Delivery, Ex Libris

I recently had the opportunity together with Pascal Calarco,  University Librarian at Windsor University and John G. Dove, Consultant at Paloma & Associates, to present some of the work we are doing at NISO, the National Information Standards Organization at the Charleston Conference 2016. We had great attendance, and even more important, an audience that was clearly engaged with the issues discussed. I would like to follow up on this with a few blog posts. This first blog post describes the discovery and delivery landscape and related NISO work and will be followed next month by a few shorter posts about individual work groups and their assignments.

The discovery and access landscape for scholarly information is a complicated one which relies on the interaction of numerous stakeholders. Users have many different entry points, including discovery systems such as Primo and summon, A&I databases such as Pubmed, web search engines such as Google or Google Scholar, social media, reference managers such as Mendeley or RefWorks, publisher webpages and so on. Ideally, users see immediately what they have access to and a click on the link in the metadata takes them to the “appropriate copy” – the copy their institutions provides them access to – either via the OpenURL link resolver or via a direct link.

Figure 1: From discovery to delivery
Information providers, such as publishers or aggregators, provide metadata for discovery to discovery system vendors and to search engines. They also provide title lists for link resolvers to track their global offerings and to provide institutions with lists of titles they are entitled to access, whether because they subscribe to it or because the title is freely available. Institutions and their libraries, on the other hand, localize their OpenURL link resolver knowledge bases with their holdings and use the knowledge bases to compare and manage their package deals and consortia entitlements. Knowledge base and discovery system vendors such as Ex Libris , OCLC, or EBSCO ingest and update the data for discovery, for availability indication, and for linking. In addition, all these stakeholders need information about usage of this data to help shaping their offerings and optimize their discoverability and access.

Figure 2: Processes enabling discovery and delivery
Collaboration beyond institutional and company borders is essential in this sort of landscape. This is why NISO – the National Information Standards Organization – plays such a vital role in this industry. Headed by Todd Carpenter, NISO brings all stakeholders together in a neutral environment to form work groups for defining recommendations, standards and guidance that help to enable and optimize the required interactions and processes. NISO therefore relies on the support of the community that it serves. 

That is why Pascal, John and I are all members of the NISO D2D (Discovery to Delivery) topic committee, chaired by Pascal and Peter Murray (Index Data). (For the full roster please see the NISO D2D page.) We meet once a month in a telephone conference to discuss industry trends, identify areas where standards and recommendations can provide guidance, and help and oversee the work of the individual NISO discovery and delivery related work groups and standing committees. In addition we are also participating in individual work groups. For example, I am a member of the KBART standing committee and the Link Origin working group, and I have worked in the past on ALI (Access and License Indicators) and Altmetrics

The D2D work does not always lead to standards or recommendations. We also commission research work. For example, a white paper about the future of discovery, written by Marshall Breeding, was commissioned and published in 2015. Currently we are discussing a proposal for research work associated with the discovery of open access material. My next blog posts will describe the following initiatives in more detail:
  • KBART and KBART automation
  • Link Origin tracking
  • ODI (Open Discovery Initiative)
  • ALI (Access and License Indicators)

Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The New Rosetta 5.1: Looking Good!

Adi Alter, Rosetta Product Manager, Ex Libris

It's always exciting to share a new release with our customers, especially a major release like this one, which focuses on operational efficiency and ease of use. With more than 50 enhancements, we are proud to share some of the highlights of Rosetta's latest release: version 5.1.

Improved User Interface:
Designed to simplify your workflow, the new user interface introduces a new design of multiple widgets throughout the system – tables, forms, menus, breadcrumbs, wizards, and more. This version includes a graphical metadata editor that facilitates the management of different metadata standards.

The new Rosetta version is designed to streamline the processes involved in digital preservation and asset management. For example, while evaluating a preservation plan, users can now employ a file-comparison tool to check the quality of the files that will be created as part of the migration process. Users can arrange collections and sub-collections into meaningful display categories and thus simplify navigation in display interfaces such as the Ex Libris Primo Collection Discovery lobby.

Rosetta 5.1 also includes a new HTML5 viewer and enhanced support for mobile devices. Data assets in multiple formats, such as images, audio, and video content, are now always available and accessible. 

Check out this short clip about the new user interface in Rosetta 5.1:

Some of the other improvements in Rosetta 5.1 include:

Data Management Improvements:
·         A Graphic XML Editor which enables users to easily and more effectively edit metadata, configuration files and structmaps. The new editor provides graphic tools such as indentation, tag autocomplete, drag & drop and color-coding.
·         Collection Ordering – Now, your patrons can view Rosetta collections in the order you choose. This makes the collections more attractive and logically easy to explore.
·         Collection History – Made a change in your collection? Rosetta now captures the change and enables data managers to audit the collection over time.

Preservation Improvements
·         File Comparison: The new Rosetta enables you to compare a file before and after migration. For example, if you converted an audio file to a different format, you will now be able to compare the sound quality between the files pre- and post-migration.
·         Streamline the Preservation Process: Now users will not have to create a new plan for each file format but can rather create one plan that include files from the same classifications sharing the same risk. A huge time-saving feature!

·         Mobile Support: Audio / Video and Documents viewers are now mobile friendly. In addition, in this new release you will find a brand new mobile-friendly HTML5 viewer which supports any browser-supported files.
·         Ingest Prioritization: With the latest release you can prioritize the ingest of materials according to your business needs ensuring immediate ingest of prioritized content.
·         Better Handling of Derivative Copies: You can now easily add access copies to Intellectual Entities and publish them to discovery systems, further simplifying the process of creating accessible user content.

Want to learn about the other enhancements in the latest version of Rosetta?
Read the Rosetta 5.1 Highlights Guide.