And They Were There: Reports of Meetings, ALA Annual 2014 in Las Vegas

by | Jul 15, 2014 | 0 comments

  • Metadata Interest Group (ALCTS – Association for Library Collections and Technical Services) – Reported by John Riley
  • College and Research Libraries Interest Group (ALCTS – Continuing Resources Section) – Reported by John Riley
  • Ithaka S+R Local Survey Projects – Updates – Reported by Tom Gilson
  • Publisher/Vendor/Library Relations Interest Group – Reported by Tom Gilson

 ALA Las Vegas 1


Metadata Interest Group (ALCTS – Association for Library Collections and Technical Services) Metadata and Indicators for Discovery and Open Access, Saturday 10:30-11:30. (Reported by John Riley, Gabriel Books & Against the Grain)

  • “Vocabularies for Open Access”
    Ben Showers, Head of Scholarly and Library Futures, Jisc
  • “Update on NISO’s Open Access Metadata and Indicators Working Group”
    Nettie Lagace, Associate Director for Programs, National Information Standards Organization (NISO)

Both speakers discussed the metadata needs of open access (OA) materials and the use of visual indicators to help users determine their access rights. Of particular note was Nettie Lagace (NISO) who indicated that  NISO wants to use “free_to_read” instead of Open Access as a metadata tag “License_ref” for Creative Commons, etc. At this point it is being recommended, not required. ILS systems will incorporate it in the future.


College and Research Libraries Interest Group (ALCTS – Continuing Resources Section) Sunday, June 29   8:30-10:00
(Reported by John Riley, Gabriel Books & Against the Grain)

The session was chaired by Doralyn Rossman, Head of Collection Development, Montana State University Library and featured Doralyn and Buddy Pennington, Director of Collections and Access Management, University of Missouri–Kansas City

The key takeaways, including websites and links from the session included:

  1. The University of California at Santa Barbara Library outreach program to faculty departments re: Open Acess; they give live 15 minute presentations with up to an hour for q&a on subjects such as: Altmetrics, Creative Commons Licenses, eScholarship, Public Access Policy and Compliance. Faculty are required to deposit all research in the UC IR. (not punitive at this point, just a call from the Dean if they don’t)
  2. Various OA models: Membership (BioMed; good reputation); Ubiquity Press
  3. Johns Hopkins Promotion Fund
  4. UC Irvine
  5. SPARC outlines author rights
  6. Beall’s curated by Jeffery Beall lists predatory publishers:
  7. ORCID for faculty management:
  8. DRYAD lists OA repositories:
  9. DASH at Harvard:
  10. Open Journals Systems at Columbia:
  11. SCOAP3:
  12. Knowledge Unlatched:
  13. Open Library of the Humanities:
  15. Open Folklore:
  16. OJS, Open Journals Systems for editing:

 ALA Las Vegas 2


Ithaka S+R Local Survey Projects – Updates, Saturday, June 28, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
(Reported by Tom Gilson, Against the Grain and the Charleston Conference)

Roger Schonfeld Program Director, Libraries, Users, and Scholarly Practices, Ithaka S+R explained Ithaka S+R local survey projects and the various services Ithaka S+R offers in their development and implementation. He particularly emphasized their support in obtaining participation and maximizing responses using incentives noting the usual response rate for such surveys is 1.5% while Ithaka results come in at 8.5%.  He also noted that Ithaka provides a lot of assistance in customizing the survey instrument to the library’s needs by offering 15 survey modules of which libraries generally select a maximum of 6-7 for the final survey.  Roger went on to describe the faculty surveys that Ithaka has been conducting with a number of libraries nationwide.

But the bigger news is that Ithaka S+R will be offering the new student survey this fall to interested college and university libraries.  The student survey will be different from the faculty survey in that it will include standard questionnaire that can be supplemented by additional modules including one focused on undergraduate research; one on space use and planning; and another on extra and co-curricular activities.  Ithaka S+R also provides a number of options for interpreting the results of the student survey that participating libraries can utilize.


Publisher/Vendor/Library Relations Interest Group, Monday, June 30, 2014 – 8:30am to 10:00am
(Reported by Tom Gilson, Against the Grain and the Charleston Conference)

During this year’s ALA Annual in Las Vegas, the Publisher-Vendor-Library Interest Group of ALCTS offered a lively panel discussion entitled “the Changing Textbook Ecosystem in Higher Education: New Opportunities, New Perspectives.” The panel featured four prominent experts with differing perspectives who gave attendees a lot to think about.

Leading off the discussion was Kris Lange creator ofBookFool, an online textbook buyback company, who is now with Ingram. Mr. Lange noted that buy backs are receding while bookstores focus on book rentals and that open source course materials are gaining in popularity.  He also noted that piracy was on the rise in a big way.  The tools are there to enable it and students are taking advantage of them. Since 2011, textbook piracy has increased from 10% to 35%.  He also observed that we are experience “solution fatigue” where we have “many solutions” but “little has been solved.”

Second on the program was Franny Kelly of Wiley who may have startled a few in the audience by saying that much to his surprise, print textbooks were alive and well.  In fact, students still seem to like print. Surprisingly, one of the attractions is that print textbooks come without distractions like Facebook, texting, and other elements of social media.  Added to this, custom print is growing in popularity with faculty wanting sections of the textbooks made available.  Mr. Kelly also noted that textbook rental, both print and digital, is on the rise as companies like Chegg and Amazon get into the mix.  Digital rentals are gaining momentum as providers offer short term rentals for as little as one day. Speaking of digital, Mr. Kelly is still expecting a tipping point from print to digital, perhaps by 2016 and says the definition of etextbooks is evolving from PDF to interactive whole course solutions. Students want portability note taking capability, highlighting, study curation tools or digital index cards, a social tool component like Facebook, adaptive tools, and option to buy a permanent download after rental term expires and everything in the cloud.

Offering a librarian perspective, Cyril Oberlander, formerly Director at SUNY Geneseo and now Dean of Libraries at Humboldt State, encouraged librarians to take an activist approach and stake out new territory in helping faculty publish open access textbooks. Mr. Oberlander used his time to describe a library initiative being implemented across the entire State University of New York system to accomplish just that. Starting with a $20k grant in 2012 to implement a pilot project, Open SUNY textbooks had as its goals to:

  • Reduce costs and create savings
  • Empower teaching and learning
  • Offer editorial assistance
  • Host free online open textbooks, manage their distribution and marketing, provide discovery, and supply cataloging to OCLC’s WorldCat
  • Embedded peer review

As initially funded the pilot published 4 textbooks, but libraries contributed $40K more to select 15 titles from 38 proposals to publish in 2013/2014. The second pilot is funded by a $60K renewal grant and has attracted 46 proposals. The grants are SUNY’s Innovative Instruction and Technology Grants.  By the end of 2015, the project should have 30 open textbooks published and available.

Future plans call for creating a benefits corporation to serve as fiscal agents and to develop profession scholarships and workshops for librarians to learn the publishing and editorial skills needed to assist faculty in publishing online open etextbooks.

Chuck Hamaker, Associate University Librarian for Collection Development & Electronic Resources at UNC-Charlotte offer another proactive approach as he discussed how librarians can work with bookstores while creating effective marketing strategies to help faculty select and students access course readings in the library’s eBook collection.

Mr. Hamaker described E-textbooks @ the Atkins Library “a pilot project to identify, purchase and make available unlimited online access to course adopted titles or supplemental readings for the spring 2014 semester.”  Starting with the requirements that the ebooks offer unlimited simultaneous user access, no DRM, and perpetual access, the Atkins library developed a collection of ebooks and promoted it to faculty.  The library created a course adoption ebook database to so users could locate these titles and the bookstore helped by putting a tag on the books that were available via project.  (Interestingly, the bookstore still sold their projected number of physical books.) The end result is that the faculty is using the service. In fact, one faculty member used the E-textbooks @ the Atkins Library database to create an entire course.

An active Q&A session followed with issues being discussed that included the changing definition of what a textbook is; the need for collaboration between libraries and bookstores; whether librarians can perform the editing services offered by projects like Open SUNY textbooks; and need to collect data on all such efforts. MERLOT was also mentioned as a source for free and open peer reviewed collections of online teaching and learning materials. (MERLOT is a program of the California State University System partnering with education institutions, professional societies, and industry.)


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