Working Better Together: Library, Publisher and Vendor Perspectives


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Aaron Wood (speaker), Maria Collins (speaker), Mary Somerville (speaker), Nicole Pelsinsky (speaker)

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  • Good afternoon, everyone. I’m going to provide quick case study about NCSU’s experience with vendor partnerships.
  • But first, I want to provide some background information about North Carolina State and it’s Libraries. NCSU is a land-grant university serving over 34,000 students with 8,000 faculty members. It is the largest university in North Carolina. NCSU Libraries has two main libraries: D.H. Hill and the James B. Hunt Jr. Library Branches: Design Library, Natural Resources Library, Veterinary Medicine LibraryNCSU Libraries offers centralized technical services operations.The Acquisitions & Discovery Department (or technical services) recently merged in June 2011 (acquisitions and cataloging); The combined total for staff after the merger included 30 people. All A&D staff moved to new Hunt library on Centennial campus the end of 2011. In order to facilitate merger and the move, the following had to happen:Review all processes to consider what could be outsourced and what could be combinedDetermine a new department structure that more accurately supported the work of managing electronic resources including the creation of new positions and a new unit to support data projects and partnerships.We were able to accomplish these large-scale changes in part due to history of partnerships with vendors that allowed us to streamline and support our workflows over the previous ten years.
  • So, a little bit about the organizational culture at NCSU that lends itself to our willingness to partner with others. In general, staff are willing to take risks and try new processes. Failure is not viewed as a negative but as opportunity for iterative growth. Try it, evolve it, try it again. In fact, after our move to Hunt, each unit in the department implemented bi-weekly scrums, or quick stand up touch base meetings where you quickly review priorities and work. These meetings help people to know what’s going on and more quickly adjust their work depending on department priorities. This is a take-off from a strategy used to support Agile development that we borrowed from our IT department. We also have great IT support for developing and implementing systems-related solutions (such as our locally developed ERM – E-matrix). These factors have provided a cultural readiness at NCSU that has contributed to a history of partnerships to provide better services.
  • So, I’d like to just review a few examples of some of these partnerships that are associated with technical services and their resulting benefits, NCSU has a shelf ready service with YBP, our book jobber. Benefit: Able to outsource processes like copy cataloging and physical prep of materials to free up resources to work on new workflows such as e-acquisitions.-Allows staff to have the mental space and time to learn new processes-Allows department to focus on cross-training efforts required by the merger-Helps to develop flexible mindset about what constitutes TS work – giving up sacred cows and the notion that you can’t change because you have traditional tasks to perform. Also – with space at a premium at Hunt, there is no large bookroom that can hold backlogs of materials. Able to get materials to the patrons within a short turnaround time. Currently, 75% of materials ordered through YBP are shelf ready
  • Data support for E-Matrix We worked with Ebsco to construct links to take users into EbscoNet from E-Matrix. We also worked with Serials Solutions to create a file of our Kb data that is loaded daily into E-matrix. E-Matrix as an ERM system is a downstream system and dependent on data sources to populate the database. Benefits:Through partnerships with Ebsco and Serials Solutions, NCSU is able to benefit from all the work these vendors contributed towards ERM data. -In addition, Ebsco provides other important views into the data such as title relationships that are useful for our staff. Rather than try to replicate these efforts, we’ve partnered with vendors to link to or utilize the data they create. -This allows our in-house developers to focus on other functionality we would like to build out in E-matrix. It also allows staff to make more immediate use of the tool without the hours of data entry that other ERM systems require. Consequently, staff time is saved. So, these data services support and compliment our in-house tool rather than compete with it.
  • NCSU is a partnering institution involved in the development of a Global Open Knowledebase or GOKb. GOKb, which is funded by the Mellon Foundation, will serve as the knowledge base for Kuali OLE and provide a freely available, community-managed data set for kb communities, including other knowledge base vendors. Partners in this initiative include JISC (UK universities), Kuali OLE institutions and the publisher community. Benefits:This kind of large-scale initiatives further explores conversations in the community about KB standards, normalization of kb data and the exchange of KB data across systems. Issues of data integrity will be addressed and economies of scale realized through community support. NCSU librarians participating in the project obtain expert knowledge in global package management, which enhances our ability to manage our journal collections at the local level. They also are actively engaging in an international network of experts in this area of work. There is no doubt that collaborations like GOKb further the conversation of the initiatives they support.
  • Like many universities, NCSU has also implemented demand-driven acquisitions. We are currently utilizing a DDA service through ebrary with administrative support through YBP. This partnership has several potential benefits:First, the DDA process itself evolves the selection experience, transforming how we conceptualize what we do for collection building/accessSecond, it provides an opportunity to realize cost savings with a more limited focus on what patrons want now, rather than what they could want laterThird, through the use of YBP, we can centralize monographs purchases into a single view: DDA, packages, single orders, etc. to ensure that selectors have a complete picture of recent acquisitions. We have found that these kinds of partnerships also help technical services staff build an understanding of how data moves and is stored across systems. This kind of understanding is an important foundation for trouble-shooting in an automated environment.
  • Likewise, NCSU also partners with OCLC and Serials Solutions for MARC record services. Again, this allows NCSU to tap into a collective brain trust rather than build out these services in isolation. OCLC is the grandfather of this kind of thought process. Staff save time in their work, they are able to focus on other tasks, and they gain a better understanding of global data networks.
  • In 2005, NCSU was one of the first ARL schools to implement Endeca, a discovery service that provides for faceted searching. Rather than spend the time to develop a similar tool in-house, NCSU realized the potential of just biting the bullet and paying for this service instead. This partnership has since extended to TRLN through the development of TRLN Endeca, which provides a single catalog search experience for TRLN institutions. Andrew Pace story: Build it yourself until the vendors can provide it; then move on to focus on other problems vendors have not yet solved. I think this is an important Philosophy that reflects several things-willingness to experiment-the importance cost/benefit analysis-the importance of having an understanding of the market place
  • So, in a nutshell what are the results of these kinds of partnerships? They create and support better dataBetter linkingBetter discoveryBetter electronic resource managementAccess to global information networksAnd they free-up local resources-They supplement our existing local systems-They allow us to outsource or automate rote processes to allow resources for more complex processes-They provide administrative supportAnd they build global communities of interest with greater influence than what a single institution could provide.
  • In terms of cultural results for NCSU, these partnerships were a contributing factor towards transformative change-In order to automate and outsource you have to have a focus on workflow-As staff worked to automate workflows they had to shift to more holistic/life-cycle driven workflows, which required cross-training. Partnerships have more easily allowed for organizational change.-When we merged acquisitions and cataloging, staff already had a strong understanding of how to analyze their current work and implement new processes in new ways. -They were adaptable and able to re-organize without incidentVendor partnerships contributed to reorganization byReducing hand-offs, creating efficienciesConsequently staff now-Have time to focus on mainstreaming our e-resource management processes-Shifting from production to analytical work. -They are Shifting to macro-level record management instead of micro-level. Finally, they have Systems-centric philosophy of work -We are building a library staff that understands data transformations and connections and the ultimate impact on the user -Freedom to buy or build – make the best choice for the user -Quicker leap between identification of the problem and the solution-Hopefully – this should allow us to be more open to future areas of development or innovations
  • So, in thinking through our history of partnerships, I wanted to leave you with a top ten list of best practices and a few words about the value of partnerships. From a library perspective, for partnerships to be successful, you need to -Support iterative communication (formally and informally)-define deliverables, expectations and deadlines- (be flexible) - be willing to experiment, accept and grow functionality-Be wary of creating overly complicated and expensive workflows – where possible, keep it simple-Where automating, don’t forget to train staff to handle exceptions and problems-Focus on big picture with staff – don’t lose sight of why you are doing what you are doing when workflows become system-driven; Otherwise, you often lose an understanding of what’s occurring and why
  • Be open to non-traditional partners and non-traditional solutions (you can often find unique solutions from other industries)-Don’t forget to bring in stakeholders across your institution. Structured involvement always improves buy-in of new solutions. -Don’t hang on to processes you no longer need; or new processes that are unnecessary-Understand that publishers and vendors are trying to solve many of the same problems. They are your friends and not the enemy.-and finally understand the Importance of environmental scans – keep up with what people/companies are doing – this will help you imagine solutions,
  • Concluding thoughts: Partnerships served as a Lynchpin to facilitate change: in culture, in the work, in the organizationAllowed for transformational organizational changeThink smarter and Think broaderAble to do more with less (economy, reductions in staff through attrition)And more quickly Evolve workflows (workflow mapping strategies)They changes the type of work that you do by allowing for the automation of rote workEnd result: staff that can better serve the user and manage the complicated life cycle of e-resources You’ll also gain time needed to better support your organizational priorities 
  • So, as a segue to Nicole’s presentation, I would like to leave you with my wish list of areas that I think are ripe for collaboration. Ebook managementData supportLinked dataStandardsKB dataWorkflow supportOpen AccessI’ll turn it over to Nicole.
  • Charleston presentation for panel: How Things Work Together: Vendor, Publisher, and Library PerspectivesAmidst more and more publisher content, research tools, and library systems, interoperability - how things work together (for instance, a link resolver and a discovery service, or a data service and a discovery service) – has tremendous implications for workflows for librarians and, ultimately, researchers. With a focus on discoverability, representatives from vendor (Serials Solutions), publisher (ASP), and library (NCSU) sectors discuss contemporary achievements and opportunities, with a common aim of proactively continuing to refine/improve the researcher experience.
  • Hello, everyone. As you can see from Maria’s case study and analysis, the relationship between libraries, service providers, and content providers is the foundation of continuous improvements for staff workflows and the patron research experience. I would like to walk through the service provider perspective, based on the tangible results realized by NCSU. Maria’s case study essentially outlined NCSU’s implementation process. The concept of implementation – whether it is a product/service, a workflow or both – provides the foundation upon which improvements can be built. But the implementation process also has challenges. It requires investments of time, money and staffing, and can only be disruptive by nature. However, the implementation process should be seen as a partnership between a service provider and library – and both parties should recognize that each will need to provide a certain amount of investment, working together and independent from each other. Service Providers can help ensure that this partnership is successful, by providing some key elements to the library staff: an overview of the process and milestones (perhaps using a project plan or checklist); assisting the library in identifying key staff that can contribute their expertise during that process (although they may not be involved for the entirety of the process); setting clear expectations of what the Service Provider delivers and the expected deliverables from the library. Service Providers should also include reference materials and training to help along the way – and these should be revised and improved over time, based on knowledge amassed by working with many different libraries. The end result of the implementation should clearly show improvements, for instance - enhancing a patron’s research process, better/wider access to the library’s content, or a savings in staff time or effort. One of the methods to save staff time and effort is to improve content tracking and the reporting capabilities for the library. This helps the staff understand what collections are being used by patrons, and how to evaluate and refine their collections. To facilitate tracking, many libraries choose to adopt an electronic resource management system. The adoption of an ERM provides a single access point which can mean less hunting around for library staff to capture information about their content; an expectation of consistency of data and reporting within the system being used; and – if instituted as a staff policy – this system can serve as the authoritative resource for the library’s assets and information about those assets. Electronic ResourceManagement systems help libraries stay organized by acting as a single repository for licensing, contacts, and cost information,that staff can commonly access and report out of. Historically, populating an ERM has been required a lot of manual labor and data entry – but data templates and uploaders – as well as data population services - can now ease that burden for library staff. Continued reporting standards adoption (like COUNTER and SUSHI) have also facilitated the ability to use – and expect! - consistent data. Some Service Provider administrative consoles can also allow for reporting on holdings information, click-thru statistics – and many include some basic discoverability access for patrons as well (an example of this is the A-Z list). Maintenance of data and library holdings, is another investment of time and staff work for the library. Identifying and selecting the metadata that represents the library’s collections requires ongoing updates to the systems that then facilitate access to the content through a discovery layer. This work is also closely tied to understanding what the underlying Service Provider knowledge bases can support. Many Service Providers now offer data upload tools, to reduce the manual labor associated with this process. How Service Providers work with Content Providers is also a key element to reducing the overhead for library staff, and we will cover that now.
  • The relationship between content providers and discovery-layer service providers is critical. From the discovery layer perspective, a Service Provider should be vested in representing Content Provider data as accurately as possible. One way to do this is to optimize how the metadata is mapped. This ensures that content appearing in the UI of a discovery layer makes sense (for instance, the title is ‘where’ a patron would expect to see a title within the results). This also allows the search algorithms running behind the scenes to reliably and consistently pull back the appropriate results. Another valuable aspect of a partnership between Service Providers and Content Providers is the potential to take advantage of new and unique data elements (as they make sense in the UI or search, i.e. Web of Science citations). These unique elements can enhance the research experience and add value to how a researcher can mentally parse their results. Finally, some Service Providers not only gather metadata, but then makes improvements to it as necessary (an example of this would be pulling together data from various publishers, to build a more robust representation of a title). As a result, there is the ability to further cement a partnership by providing Content Providers with feedback to potentially refine their native data. This can result in improving the research experience either through a discovery layer or on a specific provider platform. Another example of positive outcomes from partnerships between Content Providers and Service Providers is illustrated by continuous improvements to linking. OpenURL linking has been the de facto solution over time to provide the handshake between metadata, and UI and native content. As a Service Provider that has many products that act as a conduit to content, we have participated in NISO’s efforts to refine and improve the industry’s adoption of data standards. However, the challenges of platforms, data, exchanges – all constitute a potential barrier to results. We strive to continuously innovate in our approach to OpenURL and to find alternate methods to provide the pathway to the content. Direct linking has been introduced as one such improvement. Direct linking relies on data consistency between a Service Provider and Content Provider and can facilitate linking when publishers have platforms that change frequently or when metadata inconsistencies occur, for instance. Instead of relaying on ISSNs, titles and start pages– we can utilize the identifier from the native source. I would now like to introduce Aaron, who is going to continue this discussion from the content provider perspective, and show some specific examples of this work in action. [Segway to Aaron’s slides]
  • Ultimately, our partnerships with Libraries and Content Providers is what allows us to have products and services, to offer. To illustrate the connection between libraries, service providers and content providers – and to hopefully provide a moment of comic relief – I have embellished one of Maria’s slides. I would now like to introduce Aaron, who is going to continue this discussion from the content provider perspective, and show some specific examples of this work in action.
  • Working Better Together: Library, Publisher and Vendor Perspectives

    1. 1. Working Better Together: Library, Publisher and Vendor Perspectives
    2. 2. Introductions • Panelists – Moderator: Mary Somerville – Library: Maria Collins – Vendor: Nicole Pelsinsky – Publisher: Aaron Wood
    3. 3. Overview • Case Study: NCSU experience • Publisher and Vendor Response • Audience Q&A
    4. 4. Working Better Together: Library Case Study Maria Collins Head of Acquisitions & Discovery, North Carolina State University Libraries
    6. 6. PARTNERING BETWEEN SERVICE PROVIDERS AND LIBRARIES Implementations o Process and overview o Milestones and outcomes o Training and documentation Tracking o ERMs = organizing documentation for your library o Administrative consoles = tracking and reporting Maintenance o Collections and holdings o Understanding the data foundation = knowledge bases
    7. 7. PARTNERING BETWEEN SERVICE PROVIDERS AND CONTENT PROVIDERS Improving and Refining Data o Optimizing metadata mappings o Capitalizing on new and unique data elements o Data improvements More Robust Linking o Improving the OpenURL experience (i.e. IOTA initiative) o Direct linking
    9. 9. Nicole Pelsinsky – MLIS, PMC Manager of Global Implementation Services
    10. 10. Collaborative Efforts between Service Providers and Content Providers Direct Linking Discovery services had tended to be reliant on link resolvers for the delivery of content. This was problematic for non-journal, non-book content, particularly the archival and multimedia content that Alexander Street provides. At the 2010 Charleston Conference, Summon and Alexander Street talked this through and direct linking was the result Metadata Schema Mappings When Alexander Street first started sending track-level audio metadata to Summon, the mapping from Alexander Street’s MARCxml into Summon’s modified MODS was reliant on the overall MARC to MODS mappings, which were optimized for monographic and serial content, not component part content, such as tracks. This resulted in lists of seemingly identical track results, since there was little metadata to differentiate them based on the mapping. Alexander Street and Summon worked together to make the mapping inclusive of other publication-related fields, such as the 773 (Host Item Information), so that end users could differentiate based on album title, label, and release date Database/Collection Recommender Summon’s suggested specialized collections based on user searches are inclusive of multimedia databases and highlight Alexander Street music collections
    11. 11. Future Collaboration So Many Possibilities Enhanced audio track search result display through cover art delivered through Bowker’s Syndetics Inclusion of non-book, non-serial content in 360 MARC Auto-activation of publisher collections in various knowledge base services, including Summon Linked data But What Collaborations Would Most Benefit You?
    12. 12. Questions? Maria Collins Nicole Pelsinsky Mary Somerville Aaron Wood
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