Call for Papers
The Fifth Annual Collection Management & Development Research Forum
ALA Annual 2014
The Publications Committee of the Collection Management Section of ALCTS is sponsoring the Fifth Annual Collection Management & Development Research Forum (formerly known as the Emerging Research in Collection Management & Development Forum) at the 2014 American Library Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas.
This is an opportunity to present and discuss your research. Both completed research and research in progress will be considered. All researchers, including collection practitioners from all types of libraries, library school faculty and students, and other interested individuals, are encouraged to submit a proposal.
The Committee will use a “blind review” process to select two projects. The selected researchers are required to present their papers in person at the forum. Each researcher should plan for a 25-30 minute presentation, with a 10-15 minute open discussion following each presentation. Criteria for selection are:
Significance of the study for improving collection management and development practices
Potential for research to fill a gap in collections scholarship or to build on previous studies
Quality and creativity of the methodology
Previously published research or research accepted for publication prior to January 15, 2014, will not be accepted.
The submission must consist of no more than two pages. On the first page, please list your name(s), title(s), institutional affiliation(s), and contact information (including your mailing address, telephone number, fax number, and email address). The second page should be a one-page proposal, and it should NOT show your name or any personal information. Instead, it must include only:
The title of your project
A clear statement of the research problem
A description of the research methodology used
Results of the project, if any
The deadline for proposals is January 15, 2014.
Notification of acceptance will be made by February 15, 2014.
ALCTS, in its bylaws, claims the right of first refusal for publication of any work emanating from an ALCTS body or program.
For those attending ALA Midwinter, we hope you can join us for a scholarly communication session co-sponsored by ALCTS Collection Management Section and ACRL Science & Technology Section.
Title: Researcher Networking and Profile Systems: Library Collections and Liaison Opportunities
Date: Sunday, January 26, 2014
Time: 4:30pm – 5:30pm
Location: Pennsylvania Convention Center – Room 121 B
Abstract: Researcher networking and profile systems such as VIVO, Symplectic Elements, Elsevier’s SciVal Experts, and Harvard Catalyst Profiles present interesting opportunities for libraries as they continue to address the evolving information needs of their constituents. Such systems might offer librarians and libraries opportunities for extensive new engagement with campus research environments, including: increased participation in team-based research projects and further development of born-digital collections of scholarly materials through the leveraging of existing library collections and campus academic support infrastructures. Speakers will discuss their experience working with (and in some cases developing) profile systems at their institutions, addressing library-related benefits and challenges associated with their implementation.
Paolo Mangiafico, Coordinator of Scholarly Communication Technologies, Duke University Libraries
In a former role as Director of Digital Information Strategy in the Office of the Provost at Duke, he co-chaired the Provost-appointed Digital Futures Task Force, which developed an open access policy for Duke faculty scholarship (adopted by the Duke Academic Council in 2010) and a set of recommendations for developing better infrastructure and support for management, publication, and archiving of research data. He is now working with librarians, technologists, and faculty to implement these, and serves on both management and implementation teams of the Library’s open access and digital repository projects and the University’s VIVO-based faculty data system. Paolo has been a fellow in the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke, led an early digital library project called The Digital Scriptorium and Duke Libraries’ Web Services and Research & Development groups, and has served as a consultant for universities, university presses, and government agencies, as well as a lecturer in information science. He recently completed a term as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Durham County Library system. His current work focuses on how new technologies can be adapted to further the knowledge-sharing mission of research universities, and the intersection between social, economic, and technical systems.
Griffin M Weber, MD, PhD
Dr. Griffin Weber is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and the Chief Technology Officer of Harvard Medical School and Director of the Biomedical Research Informatics Core at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. His research is in the area of expertise mining and social network analysis. He invented Harvard Catalyst Profiles, which is an open source website that creates research profiles for an institution’s faculty, and links these together through both Passive Networks, which are automatically generated based on information known about investigators, and Active Networks, which users themselves create by indicating their relationships to other researchers. These networks have numerous applications, ranging from finding individual collaborators and mentors to understanding the dynamics of an entire research community. Dr. Weber is also an investigator on Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside (i2b2), an NIH National Center for Biomedical Computing, for which he developed a web-based open source platform that enables query and analysis of large clinical repositories. Dr. Weber received an MD degree and a PhD in computer science from Harvard University and has worked on numerous biomedical informatics projects, such as analyzing DNA microarrays, modeling the growth of breast cancer tumors, developing algorithms to predict life expectancy, and building a medical education web portal.
Steve Adams, Life Sciences Librarian, Northwestern University
Steven M. Adams is currently the Life Sciences Librarian at Northwestern University (NU). In this position, he is responsible for doing collection development, instruction, outreach, and reference to several departments in the biological, behavioral, and environmental sciences. He is currently coordinating the reference management training workshops for Northwestern, leading an initiative to promote cooperative collection development, and working on several initiatives related to instruction and outreach. His current research interests include developing new roles for science librarians, modernizing outreach and instructional services in academic libraries, scholarly communication, and research networking tools. Previously, Steven was the Biological and Life Sciences Librarian (2003-2011) and Interim Psychology Librarian (2007-2011) at Princeton University. His Princeton projects included developing Princeton’s implementation of the LibX toolbar, starting Princeton’s first library blog for departmental outreach, designing and executing several successful curriculum-integrated instruction initiatives. Steven received a B.A in Biology in 1998 and an M.L.S. in 2000 from Clark Atlanta University, and a certificate in Instructional Design from Langevin Learning Services.
Let’s have a little argument with Rick Anderson. His recent article from Ithaka S+R makes a lot of good points. The primary thesis is that libraries should concentrate on building up their special collections (non-commodity collections, he calls them) because that is what makes each library unique and building these collections will also result in the preservation of the widest possible selection of our intellectual record. I don’t argue with that. No sense in libraries all developing the same collection of commercially published products.
The backstory of Anderson’s thesis, however, (the backstory of all Rick’s articles) is that we live in an information-rich environment (check) and that (commodity) library collections are of declining value because so much of the information they might contain is more cheaply and readily available elsewhere. BONK!
Today’s more efficient online marketplace features much lower prices and much lower barriers to personal collection-building, a pervasive full-text searching capability that makes traditional cataloging less obviously necessary, and widely distributed storage and access points that undermine traditional approaches to preservation and curation. (p. 3)
Some elements of that are partly true. There is a tremendous growth in full-text searching capabilities (“pervasive,” I don’t know), the Internet generally offers many storage and access possibilities that did not exist before, and the cost of some things is lowered by the 1000-pound-gorilla-ness of Amazon e-book pricing. But here’s my point: only a fraction of the scholarly communication record is affected by these factors.
Anderson suggests (p. 2) that because it is more possible (technologically) for scholars to share articles with one another, the need for such materials to be held and distributed by libraries is diminished. Clearly, it is faster and easier for scholars to share articles with one another today than it was 40 years ago, but there is no evidence I have seen in the literature that says this amounts to a majority of uses of scholarly articles or that this kind of sharing is responsible for a decline in library access. In fact, presumably scholars could by-pass use of the library copy in only three situations: for articles they wrote themselves (easily shared with others), for articles from journals for which they hold a personal subscription (easily accomplished but of dubious copyright and ethical status), or for articles that are freely available in an open repository (the sense of sharing in that case is not quite an accurate representation). It is implausible, in the first instance, that EVERY use of a scholarly article would be mediated by the author of the article. If that were true, the need for scholarly journals would cease to exist altogether. In truth, a great deal of sharing within the scholar community is accomplished, I would suggest, from downloading PDF files from library holdings. Obviously, the open access movement plays a significant role in the enhanced sharing of publications outside the commodity environment, but does anyone believe this is now the primary way scholars share information? The continued promotion/tenure scramble to be published in “top-tier” journals suggests otherwise.
The idea of lower cost and lower barriers to personal collection-building being the drivers of diminished library use (or at least relevance) certainly warrants study, but I don’t think it has been demonstrated and I doubt it would hold up under careful analysis. Do scholars today personally buy a greater percentage of the resources they use compared with scholars of the past? Perhaps marginally. Are scholars acting as intelligent consumers in the scholarly communication marketplace, finding the lowest price in all instances? Doubtful. At any rate, if they were behaving in that way, a free library copy would always be the best option. Interlibrary loan anyone?
The cost of almost all scholarly publications have, in fact, continued to go up relentlessly. Journal subscription prices outstrip the CPI every year. Even purchase-by-the-article services tend to run in the $25 to $50 range per article. Scholarly monographs are rarely cheaper than $50 per title. The existence of efficient distribution channels and digital options have not changed that very much. As an example, here are a couple of items my acquisitions team has dealt with recently:
- Evolution and Human Sexual Behavior. Harvard University Press, 2013. We paid $33.24 through our regular academic book vendor. The hardcover edition is listed on Amazon at $35.67. There are 11 used copies listed there as well. None is cheaper than $34.50. There is a Kindle edition available at $31.16. No great savings in any case. What may make the Kindle version appealing is the instantaneous access rather than the price, but Kindle would not serve every user need.
- Guidelines for Chemical Process Quantitative Risk Analysis. American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2000. Again our vendor is selling it for $254. Amazon lists it at $190. Used copies are more expensive than that. It doesn’t exist in the commercial, individual-user e-book market. Knovel offers it through a subject package and several other library platforms have it at $254 or more. This is content that some of our users really want, but they are unwilling to pay $200 for it themselves.
- Plessy v. Ferguson (Landmarks of the American Mosaic). Greenwood Publishing, 2012. $58 from our vendor, $37 from Amazon, $35 for a Kindle edition, $32 for a used copy. Some savings over our commodity-priced version, but not much. This is the kind of semi-academic title that might serve student needs very well, but they wouldn’t want to pay $30 for the right to quote a few lines. (Although that IS a use some students might find for the Google Books edition, provided that the appropriate snippet could be found in the limited-preview.) Faculty might be interested in using the book as a teaching text, but it probably wouldn’t serve their research interests. Few would pay for it themselves. Thus, the savings through Amazon is still not that appealing.
Let’s face it, the nature of library collections and collection use is changing due to an expanded digital infrastructure, but scholars and students continue to rely for the most part on the same kinds of resources: scholarly journal articles, scholarly monographs, and reference resources. The fact that these are available digitally and in a piecemeal fashion does not change their overall cost or make them more collectible by individuals. Their pricing, I suspect, still puts them beyond the reach of most users. But I’d be willing to be proven wrong. The mere existence of Amazon and e-book readers or Google and its Books and Scholar platforms does not necessarily demonstrate that these are the causes of declining library use or expanded information-consuming power for users. I’m not sure correlation is evident, let along causation. I think we need a lot more ethnographic studies of user behavior and its subsequent impact on scholarly publishing before we can make those kinds of assertions. But I’m totally on board with asserting that we should expend more effort and money on developing locally relevant special collections. Go for it.
Someone should write this history of librarianship: the longstanding tension between “give them what they want” and “teach them what to want.” Both have been with us almost from the very moment of birth of professional librarianship. Both have elements of nobility. Both have elements of condescension.
“Give them what they want” grants agency and, hey, even intelligence to library users. “Teach them what to want” is aspirational. We all can learn something new and keep on learning throughout our lives. Let’s look away for now from the nasty verso that each bears about the worthiness of library users–that what they want is of dubious quality–one says, “so what,” the other says, “this must be remedied.”
“Teach them what to want” had the upper hand in this fight for a long while, but “give them what they want” has made some serious inroads lately. Ah, but maybe it’s all a false dichotomy. Maybe we really can do both, even though it seems like they are diametrically opposed. Maybe we can add anything to the collection that someone wants but continue to teach skills about finding something better. No conflict there, eh?
The 2012 Ithaka Faculty Survey of information behaviors hit the street this week. I’m not sure there are any great surprises in the report. The progression towards use of electronic materials continues at about the same pace. The disciplinary differences between humanities, social sciences, and sciences seem about the same as previous years. They are all shifting in their behaviors in the same direction.
What is fairly constant as well, is that most faculty continue to think that the most important activity of the library is to acquire or provide access to scholarly material. “The library pays for resources I need…” is uniformly the highest response in several questions about the role of the library. (See pages 63-76.) Of course, anyone who has looked at Libqual data will know this as well.
Contrast this with responses from library directors, especially regarding the development of library support services for scholars, and you begin to see a disconnect between scholar desires (or knowledge of library services, at least). On some issues there is almost a 40% difference in response rate between faculty and library directors. “The library supports and facilitates my teaching activities,” for example, or, “The library provides active support that helps to increase the productivity of my research and scholarship,” are both questions to show a wide gap between faculty and library directors.
Library collections continue to be very important for scholars. We need to continue thinking about the best ways to serve those scholarly information needs.
ALA conferences always seed something valuable for me. Midwinter was no exception, with the ALCTS CMS Forum, “Scholarly Communication and Collections: From Crisis to Creative Response”, yielding interesting questions about library investment in and the cost of open access. As librarians, we seem to agree that open access is a good thing and a model we should advocate. There is less agreement about our financial role in transforming the scholarly communication system. Below are some of the questions that have preoccupied me of late…and a plea for further conversation.
When are we going to see costs decrease because of open access?
This question was raised at the forum and is filled with expectation. I don’t regard OA as a means for reducing cost. I think it is a more productive and efficient model for scholarly and scientific exchange and that library investment in OA publishing is a difference in kind from money spent on fee-based access models. SCOAP3is an excellent example of this thinking—the consortium members are focused on re-directing, not reducing, their expenditures. To paraphrase Kevin Smith, I believe that to realize significant change, libraries must be willing to apply their collection budgets to open access.
But is it a matter of will or capacity?
My library is a member of Public Library of Science, Hindawi, and Biomed Central. Our support – drawn from our collection budget – allows OHSU authors to publish in open access journals at a reduced cost. The money we spend on subscription journals dwarfs this investment. Our subscription decisions are driven by faculty requests, publication and citation activity, and cost per use data. There’s not a lot of fat. Additional investment in OA would require difficult decisions about cuts to other resources that our patrons want and use. Initiatives like SCOAP3 offer strategic models to emulate, but we’re still wanting for everyday, practical tactics that meet my institution’s content needs.
Why does it matter where the money comes from?
My friend Jill Emery and I have been talking about this as we prepare for our ACRL program on hybrid open access models. I think there is something to be said for libraries contributing to the cost of open access besides the investment in building a better scholarly communication system. Faculty value highly the library’s role as a buyer (see the 2009 ITHAKA S+R Faculty Survey). Open access is not free. By supporting OA financially – ideally in partnership with other stakeholders – libraries can preserve an evolved but familiar connection to the scholarly record. Moreover, open content still requires management and curation, library expertise representing significant costs.
What are your answers to these questions?
Mine are obviously still evolving. So this is a call to continue the conversation we started at Midwinter within and across our institutions. Ultimately, our conclusions will guide how we work to transform the scholarly communication system.
Library Philosophy and Practice, an online journal published by the University of Nebraska recently published an article of mine. It details a program we tried at our campus in 2010, in which the library purchased or obtained a copy of every required text, and put them on reserve. Here is the abstract:
In the fall of 2010, a grant of $36,000 allowed Portland Community College Library to purchase and place on reserve a copy of every required text at one of its campuses. A smaller college “center” also placed all required texts on reserve. The program was very popular with students and parts of the reserve collection received heavy use. Compared to the previous fall term, overall use of reserves at the Cascade Campus library rose 35%, and the Southeast Center collection saw an increase of 110%. However, use of the collection was unevenly distributed, with 26% of the books having more than 11 uses that quarter, but a troubling number (37%) receiving no checkouts at all. An analysis of the data suggests several ways that books with 11 or more uses per quarter could be increased to over 70%. These are to purchase and process books in a timely manner, to adjust loan periods for some items, or to purchase texts only for courses with multiple sections. Use numbers compiled over the following 8 quarters show that textbooks purchased and placed on reserve will be used for several successive terms.
If you want to read the entire article, here is the link:
“All Textbooks in the library: An experiment with Library Reserves.