v.23 #1 Developing Standards Across the Scholarly Information Chain

by | Mar 28, 2011 | 0 comments

by Bev Acreman (BioMed Central, London, UK) bev.acreman@biomedcentral.com  
www. biomedcentral.com

The focus in this issue is on how an international organisation — the UKSG (www.uksg.org) — fulfils its remit to span the wide range of interests and activities across the scholarly information community of librarians, publishers, intermediaries, and technology vendors. One way we do this is through funding research projects which look to address issues that affect all players in the community. I am grateful to Ed Pentz of CrossRef and Sarah Pearson of the University of Birmingham, UK for gathering together such a solid collection of articles covering the topics of ProjectTransfer and KBART — a valuable research project looking at standardising the metadata for online resources by setting standards for knowledge-bases which underpin technologies such as OpenURL. To complement the KBART articles, Adam Chandler of Cornell University Library discusses the NISO IOTA project. This project looks to overcome the problem of incomplete or inaccurate OpenURLs which lead to an unacceptable rate of request failures. Both projects are critical for publishers and intermediaries to get right as librarians increasingly seek to put quality metrics into their negotiations with publishers.

I know from co-caretaking the lis-e-resources discussion list (http://www.uksg.org/serials#lis-e-journals) just how infuriating librarians find it when journals move publisher and platforms at short (or no!) notice. The series of Transfer articles within this issue explains the rationale behind the project, which seeks to bring order to the seemingly neverending movements of individual or entire lists of journals. Publishers need to sign up to the code of practice (30 have already joined since its inception representing 10,000 journals), and librarians need to insist that publishers comply with the code to limit the nuisance that sudden loss of access causes. As Nancy Beals states in her article, “the issue of titles moving from publisher to publisher not only affects patron access to the title on the user side, but the movement of an electronic journal title also plays a major role on the librarian and staff side.”

A critical part of the UKSG’s mission is education and training, and two articles outline the different approach we take to this. First, we have Graham Stone from the University of Huddersfield outlining the development of the Open Access E-Resources Management Handbook, (co-edited by ATG favorite, the inimitable Rick Anderson). Now in its fifth year, it is proving highly popular both as a practical manual and reference guide, including articles ranging from a beginner’s guide to working with vendors) to a treatise on the applications of RDF for e-resource discovery — both of which feature in the top downloaded chapters in 2010. Many of us volunteer our precious spare time to serve on committees in the belief we are giving something back, or making a difference, to the communities we work in and alongside. Kate Price’s article will provide anyone in the position of chairing such a committee with a toolkit to underpin what she describes as a “root and branch” review of just how well the committee is meeting its aims. Additionally it will help to decide whether the committee is robust and diverse enough to survive the current tough times with reduced resources, fewer staff, and more pressure on our day jobs.

Finally, in addition to offering my heartfelt thanks to all of the authors, I would like to thank Katina for the opportunity to highlight the international projects that the UKSG is involved with — if you would like any further information on any of the issues raised, please do not hesitate to contact me bev.acreman@biomedcentral.com or Tony Kidd, Chair, UKSG tony.kidd@glasgow.ac.uk.

Bev Acreman is the Commercial Director at BioMed Central and Publications Officer for UKSG.

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