Madgett, E-R&A Library Specialist
MLA 2012: Road Trip to Seattle
Okay, I “borrowed” this image. But it’s for a good reason (I need a picture to kick off the post). Does that make me a bad person?
Well, while you debate, I’ll tell you about an impromptu road trip to Seattle.
Kat decided we should zip down the I-5 to Seattle and drop into the MLA (Medical Library Association) conference and chat up the vendors. This being a long weekend, I figured I could spend a day for the cause. Jaimie and Irene decided to some along. So, bright and early Sunday, we hit the road. Lousy driving weather, but we got down all right. We parked at the convention center (US spelling, ‘cause that’s where we was), signed in for a day pass to the vendors, then off to the Honey Hole for big sandwiches and beer… hey, if I have to “work” on a Sunday, there needs to be beer.
Back at the conference center, started in chatting up the vendors (and scooping up swag).
American Psychological Association -talked to Susan H. Nice chat, but I felt bad when I couldn’t recollect how we access their resources. “In a way, this is good,” I explained. “As I am the problem solving guy, it means I haven’t needed to look at your site very often.” And It’s true, as I pointed out to several vendor reps: If I have a great familiarity with your site, that’s bad news. It means a lot of unhappy patrons have emailed me. Grabbed a pen (made of paper?!) for the swag bag.
Speaking of the swag bag, thank you Better World Books. More guilt here as I scooped up one of your bags, but didn’t get a chance to chat. On the upside, UBC sent a lot of books your way. So„ I don’t feel too bad.
PLoS -Public Library of Science -finally got to meet Donna O. whom I have emailed with for some time. She talked about the ALMs -Article Level Metrics PLoS uses and more importantly, wants to help others use, too. I promised to pass on the info to our Assessment and cIRcle (Institutional Repository) folks. Donna loaded me up with T-shirts and a pen.
JAMA -Journal of the American Medical Association -Matt H. took me through a brief guide to the new SilverChair platform. And he’s putting up the EZproxy stanza on the site. Thanks, Matt! I scooped up a pen. (Note: stanza not up yet -or I can’t find it- but a potentially working stanza is here.
Oxford University Press -not sure these guys were happy to be here. Was able to get a little info on the new Oxford Scholarship Online site (though, not clear if ORO & OHO titles there as well. Will need to investigate). As a co-worker later pointed out, “I think the first guy was the booth’s bouncer, and we didn’t measure up.” Moved on, swagless.
Harrassowitz - nice chat with Kasia S., whom I’m sure I have met at UBC.
Nature - talked to Lisa V. I’ve emailed her in the past. Good to put faces to names. Grabbed a pen.
Alexander Street Press -had a talk with several of the reps, very friendly. Stuck around for brownies and wine. Swag doesn’t get any better!
Allen Press - had a quick chat with Chassidy B. Filed her card away for future reference.
American Association for the Advancement of Science - good talk with the rep there, lots of insight. Grabbed a pen and a pad of paper.
EBSCO - Carol S., very helpful showing me some of the reports out of EBSCOnet and, best of all, where to find webinars and documentation on what EBSCOnet can do. Will add her name to the Contacts. Grabbed a couple pens and a mechanical pencil.
Blood - scooped up a pen.
Springer - had a good chat with David H. about the move to the new Springer site. He passed on a URL so I could get a sneak preview. Picked up a couple pens and an “insulated sleeve to slip over cold beverage containers in order to keep them that way for as long as possible.” Yep, a Springer beer coolie!
Now, you may be asking 1) “What does he need all this swag for?” and 2) “Is that why he went?” The answers are 1) I don’t need it (though, with budget cuts, it’s hard to get a good pen at work), and I don’t keep all of it. I Share with co-workers when I get back. And 2) Not entirely. Swag is the bonus (did I mention this was a Sunday on a long weekend I was giving up?). The reasons I go are that it is great to talk to the vendors, put names to faces I’ve emailed, meet new contacts to help when I run into problems that are bigger than me AND get informed so that I can do my job better.
The highlight of the day? Other than hanging out with some co-workers in Seattle and introducing them to Top Pot Doughnuts? The two conversations I had with Christy J. from U of Utah. She had a poster session “New Opportunities in Managing Electronic Resources” on how she is using CORAL to help manage aspects of eResources. She is using it for workflow management, reports, document management, calendaring of renewals, and more. Lots to think about and investigate. CORAL is Open Source, free and, she assures, problem free.
The trip back home was more lousy weather, but we all agreed it had been a good and productive outing. Stopped for dinner late in Fairhaven. Home by midnight. Now, to haul this swag into work on Tuesday, explore CORAL, review/update contacts, etc., etc., etc.
Proof it wasn’t all Margaritas and barbeque!
ER&L Day 3: Global Kb, SUSHI, Go! Go! Go!
Last Day of the conference!
- Up at 7:00 and off to breakfast as usual. Had to cut it short to get to my second breakfast and chat with Bobby from American University. Good conversation about how they track their eResources (CORAL). So, the norm seems to be 360 Resource Manager + something (JIRA, CORAL or whatever).
- First session on Global Knowledgebase project tied in to Kuali-Ole. All very much in the design stage. Earliest release, a year or more away. Phase 1 doesn’t include ebooks. No OpenURL resolver developed yet. Long way from being usable, but sounds interesting.
- Then off to hear about cloud-based ALMA and Boston College. Alma combines their ILS, ERM and knowledgebase into one. Lots of translating of data from each system into ALMA. been working on it over a year. Hope to go live this Summer. They say that Alma is very workflow oriented. Ex Libris says they will continue to develop Voyager, etc. No plans to end the life of other products yet.
- NISO presentation next. Some interesting info on a new project they are working on: Open Discovery Initiative. Looking to get libraries, content providers and discovery services to come together on the best way to discover and transfer information. The next release of COUNTER makes SUSHI part of the standard, so providers need to develop a SUSHI server to remain COUNTER compliant.
- Last session of the conference on leadership, what does it mean. Some good discussion, lots of ideas on positives and role models and the fact every one has leadership potential. Quiet leaders can lead just as well as the outgoing ones. One person spoke of how several years ago she had an idea for a conference. The first “leader” she told her idea to gave positive comments. The second “leader” told her she was crazy. She said that in fact it was the second leader that inspired her to go forward with her idea… which was the first ER&L conference.
- Anyway, it’s been a great conference. Talk to many folks in the same biz, all with the same problems we have, many with ideas (some even listened to my ideas and one was quite thrilled to hear how we handle testing off-campus IPs -the Library uses a Shaw account. A simple idea, but until you hear it…) and everyone willing to chat and share.
- And so (up on my soap box) I tell you GET TO A CONFERENCE. Spend that JSTP or whatever. All those problems and complaints swirling around your desk, they swirl around everyone’s desk. And some people have found solutions and others are eager to hear your solutions… solutions you probably don’t even realize you have until you hear someone else grumbling and realize “Hey, we solved that way back.”
- Now for some R&R in Austin.
ER&L Day 2: Making Connections, Food & the Road Ahead
Up at 7:00, breakfast and off to the conference. To quote the first presenter:
“This is an unusually cool conference.”
- First talk was on Copyright, but from the U.S. “Fair Use” perspective, so not overly relevant.
- Next up, info on Project Transfer. Interesting standard on how publishers should handle journals moving to new publishers. Much info on website. They have a blog of notices should probably follow. Can also get emailed alerts when a participating publisher has a journal changing.
- Caught up with Victoria’s colleague, Bobby, from American University. Will chat tomorrow at breakfast (well, my second breakfast -conference provides a breakfast, too).
- Next, presenters laid out how money spent on ERMs and stat software can be recouped in journal collection management ie figuring out which ejournals to cancel. Interesting mix of using 360 Resource Manager, EBSCOnet, usage stats with JR1 reports. 3rd party software like Pubget Papers or Filemaker Pro used to combine info.
- A look at some ways of tracking / displaying license info next. Had seen most before, but Kuali-Ole was new. Looks like a whole ERM being developed, but earliest production time is next year.
- Lunch —Hog Wild’s Boss Hog barbeque pork taco thing. Very tasty, very messy. Sold out of a little shack on wheels. Livin’ on the edge!
- 6Terms: great place for ideas in Life Cycle of Eresources. Met some folks and chatted about tracking ebooks, QR Codes in the stacks (to mark print books that have an e copy), off campus IPs, etc.
- Great session on JIRA being used for tracking patron problems. Had a laugh —presenter should problem count of 36 for MONTH of January. We get that in a day! Turns out they don’t have a way for patrons to report directly. Patrons report to staff, staff then email problems. Hmmm, one way to get the email down. But seriously, got me thinking about how trained up front line staff could filter out the easy problems. I mean, if a patron goes to a Service Desk and are only told “Fill out this online form,” not as satisfying as a solution being found right there and “form fillin’” only needed for the big problems. The flowchart on report-a-problem was, well, dauntingly complex. Got me wondering how ours would look. JIRA seems to work well. Some nice graphics for trends, too.
Got to run. More later…
- Ok, back from a fairly good dinner and a Margarita (or two) on the patio. A few fellow library folks from Vancouver gathered up along the way.
- Talked with a staff member from U of Manitoba, Naomi (missed her last name, sorry). She mentioned their Help Form gets the citation and URL when patrons fill it out. Must look into that.
- Presentation on preserving information for when a staff member leaves was interesting, but the ideas all boiled down to “Record information in a space where others can get at it if you’re suddenly gone.” Your email and your head are not the ideal places.
- Exchanged cards with several librarians throughout the day, folks who have some good ideas on training, workflows and tracking/ticketing. And met one of our East View reps: Catherine Jansen.
- Had two great conversations after the sessions and before supper, both on tracking. One person, all via JIRA. The other, all in 360 Resource Manager based on multiple statuses. Both sounded doable, each had problems. Much to mull over as we pick a road to go down.
ER&L Day 1: ERMs, Workflows and The Blues
Up at 7:00, breakfast and off to the off to the conference. Highlights:
- 500+ physical attendees, 100+ virtual
- and speaking of virtual, we should design so that students are as comfortable stepping through the Library’s virtual door as they are passing the physical ones
- Andrea Resmini spoke about “channels” and how a patron should be able to look up a Library resource online (one channel) and then inquire about it at a Circ/Ref Desk (another channel) and have a seamless experience
- a discussion panel talked about their experiences with Resource Managers: Coral, Verde, WorldCat & 360 Resource Manager. Every system has its pros and cons (thought the Verde user seemed awfully bitter). Interesting how even where ERMs are up and running well, and they trained library-wide usage, they don’t get library-wide buy-in. Librarians/staff still email the ER “experts” to get info they could get themselves in the ERM. Important to remember “implementation never ends.” The end point is always moving away from you. And no system is perfect.
- had lunch with a couple librarians from University of St Thomas who use 360 Resource Manager. Lots of good insight. 1-click (for the OpenURL Resolver -360 Link) has greatly improved and needs to be revisited. They had an interesting take on the Notes feature in the ERM. And lunch (Indian buffet) was tasty!
- Met a rep from BioOne in the afternoon. She had a lot of questions about Summon & Link Resolvers. Good to talk through an explanation as each time gets it clearer in my own head for (gulp!) staff training.
- Librarian from U of Oregon spoke about their shake up of Tech Services. And they rolled ILL into their new department (interesting, and makes sense as they are a big user of our Discovery and Linking tools). They are also looking at merging of public service desks and transitioning print staff to e-focused jobs… and they don’t have a training plan worked out either.
- Later, a couple librarians from Duke spoke about the convoluted and un-coordinated e-resources workflow that used to exist at Duke. A review of the whole process from start to finish for various types of resources showed multiple repetitions of the same work, gaps and an embarrassing number of purchases that never got implemented (hmm…). Even after several months they are still in the throws of trying to get their workflows into better shape, but have a list of “Best Practices” I need to review.
- Even later (hey, it ain’t a holiday…) met with Ashley Bass from Serials Solutions. Good talk and looks like we’ll play a roll in some product development focused on licensing. This lead up to the vendor reception where, around mouthfuls of shrimp. beef wellington, chicken skewers, etc, I chatted with some of our vendors. Looks like all our Oxford ebooks (OSO, ORO, OHO) are headed for a common portal.
- …and then I went to a rockin’ Blues bar in downtown Austin!
ER&L: Day 1 quicky: We are all in the same boat
Just a quick post. Day going great. Hot. Like in the 80’s hot. Many good sessions, all highlighting one very I,portant fact: all the problems and pain UBC is feeling, everyone is feeling. Everyone struggling with Print to e focus and shifting of work. And how this affects staff. So, we are all in the same (leaky?) boat. The solution? Generally, it’s a shifting of expectations. Instead of thinking we’ll reach an end to this transition, realize the “end” is always moving. The transition is the new normal state. Managing the flow of change needs to be the focus. And accepting that job training will never stop. So, spend that JSTP or wharever funding and get out where the learnin’ is.
ER&L Day 0: Man, It’s Hot!
Landed in a sauna here -compared to Seattle- at 5:30pm. Got a quick SupperShuttle ride to the B&B. Wow. My bags hadn’t even hit the floor and I was luvin’ the room. Here’s Austin Folk House and my room.
I’m all registered (6 minute walk to the conference center -have to use the American spelling), and the folks there were having a good time with just the checking in.
Got to go get some food. The real blogging (ER&L Day 1) starts tomorrow.
ER&L: Ready for Take-off
Waiting at the gate in SeaTac (gate has been changed twice, so far. Vancouver weather here, sunny they say in Austin
Saw the “Hunger Games” last night. How related to work? Well, if every year each branch submitted two Tributes…
See you in Austin!
ER&L 2012 Conference in Austin (next week)
Next week, I am off to Austin, Texas for the 2012 ER&L (Electronic Resources & Libraries) conference. Woo times two!
I vow to try to post daily about the sessions I attend… and any other Austin adventures I have.
Open UBC : Global Open Access Portal
Hey, I know. Been a couple weeks now.
Just as an extra bit of info for those who want to know more about Open Access, UNESCO has launched the “Global Open Access Portal”. What is it?
“The Global Open Access Portal (GOAP), funded by the Governments of Colombia, Denmark, Norway, and the United States Department of State, presents a current snapshot of the status of Open Access (OA) to scientific information around the world.” —UNESCO GOAP Website
Under “Access by Region” you can find out what is happening with Open Access in various countries, what “Potential Barriers” there are and see a list of “Major Projects/Initiatives”. Here’s the listing for Canada.