In the past two decades, libraries and journal publishers have seen a transformation in how they provide content and scholarly services. Scholarly services are particularly of note, as today’s humanities researchers use both digital and analog materials for scholarly research, and require services that address their hybrid needs. Learned journals and libraries share a particular attunement to these needs, given their missions: As such, I’d like to discuss my recent needs assessment of scholars and journals, and from this, consider how libraries and learned journals can potentially collaborate.
To set the stage: Statistic after statistic—including the EBSCO Information Services 2011 survey and Library Journal 2011 Periodicals survey—attests that journal prices are rising, but library’s budgets are falling and their space is shrinking. These pressures in prices have forced libraries to find creative ways to control costs without decimating collections. A number of libraries, including my own, have reduced their library’s on-site holdings of print journals and expanded electronic access, a process documented studies by librarians at Tufts and Nebraska and something that William notes in his comments the fragmentation of library collections (Griffin and Foret 433-437; Tyler and PytlikZillig 18-19). An Ithaka S + R research report proposes a multi-institutional consortium that shares digitized files and one shared print collection (Schonfeld and Housewright 14-15). And then there is the Open Access Movement, led in part by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), who recently reported that their 2011 inventory lists 530 scholarly societies publishing 616 full OA journals (Suber 1).These are among the initiatives being implemented today to address libraries’ challenge to provide financially feasible access to journals research. In this vein, I’d like to discuss the case study of my library, the Literatures and Languages Library at the University of Illinois.
The Literatures and Languages Library was formed as a merger of two departmental libraries, the English Library and Modern Languages and Linguistics Library, in January 2011. Prior to the merger, each library had a separate, heavily curated periodicals room, each room containing several hundred journals in current issues and bound volumes. But the libraries’ on-site holdings of periodicals had to be reduced to fit within the parameters of a new Literatures and Languages Periodicals reading space that was the size of one of their reading rooms. Thus I launched a weeding—but not deaccessioning—process of the English periodicals collection. The evaluation process of what to keep on-site involved an assessment of online access, frequency of use, and informal input from faculty. And during the space remodeling for the new periodicals room, I did a small survey of faculty use of our journals in order to help us develop guidelines for the new periodicals collection and its related services.
A survey was conducted in fall 2011 with the University of Illinois’s Department of English faculty, due to my primary access to this community: It was distributed to approximately 55 faculty members and received 15 valid responses. The survey asked respondents to describe their usage of ourLibrary’s journals collection and also their general use of periodicals in research (survey text available at the posted URL).I’d like to highlight a few key parts of the study:
In answer to the question of how they accessed the Library’s journals, pluralities of respondents indicated they used the Library’s website, electronic databases and the online catalog.
Yet when they were asked to list the advantages and disadvantages of having an on-site journal collection, the respondents overwhelmingly cited the advantages of immediate accessibility and comprehensive browsing for trends in scholarly practices. As one respondent noted, “Print journals are useful in providing a sense of what's going on in a particular area currently. Although this can also be accomplished online, I find it easier, more convenient and more aesthetically pleasing in print.” Responses like this immediately revealed issues that consistently were raised throughout the survey: access to a broad scope of the scholarly literature, having a easily accessible conduit for scholarly communications and currency, and a tool for graduate training.
For electronic journals, the primary cited advantages were the accessibility in terms of speed, mobility in access, and targeted searching. But disadvantages included the lag between print and online access, and searchability.
And while the majority used mostly e-journals, e-journals and print are often used concurrently by researchers, as one faculty member explains in this quote they start with the online and then go to the print.These important types of use of both the print and electronic formats also may undergird the continuing strength of journals in the research workflow.
In answer to how the importance of journals had changed in their field, all respondents said that journals either maintained their importance or had increased in importance. Notably, a respondent commented, “Publishers are publishing fewer edited collections; many collections that would have appeared as books are now appearing as special issues of journals.” (A trend that Alan also notes.) This importance also means that users have definite opinions on improvements that can be made.
When asked how the library could improve their services, on-site collection access, comfortable reading spaces, and expanded online access were the leading suggestions. In sum, one respondent said, “the important thing is to maintain access to older journals while adding access to newer journals.” Libraries constantly negotiate these issues of access and content, and seek new and innovative ways to improve; but there are influential factors on users from the publishers as well.
A plurality of respondents commented on the format and search interfaces of journal databases, with comments such as “Journals seem to fail to realize how they are used, in terms of ease of searching for articles.” Several respondents, however, could not identify any improvements—meaning that perhaps they recognize the laudatory efforts done by editors like Alan. But overall, the responses revealed that there are complementary issues to address for libraries and journal publishers.
This initial data from this admittedly small survey begins to indicate that the major issue in today’s humanities scholarship with journals is access: access for scholarly communications, for contextualizing their scholarship, and for graduate training. But the ideal access must not only be efficient and easy, but also content-rich in order to browse broadly across journal issues and disciplines. This broad and interdisciplinary method of research validates the studies of humanities researchers, such as Brockman, Neumann, et al.’s 2001 study that documents how secondary sources such as journals are as important as primary sources in contextualizing the scholars’ work and facilitating scholarly communications (18-19). What then are ways that libraries and journals could work together to facilitate their research needs?
In response to this study, the Literatures and Languages Library is in the midst of developing a SQL database of its journals, with each record containing links to the catalog and full-text online when available. This is a relatively simple but more mobile and robust access tool. The print collection, however, likely will grow no larger: The former English Library saw a 19.1% drop in on-site visitors during its last year of existence, and while we have no consistent statistics of on-site use in the new Library yet, our limited confines and steady increase in e-resources use (the MLA International Bibliography database received 1.3 million searches in 2010) has led us to expand our electronic resources. But we will continue to gather feedback and assessment of journal use—I plan to expand this survey to the other languages departments served by our Library.There are also a number of tools and initiatives developed at other institutions that we will look to, such as enhanced journal indexes and databases developed by libraries at the University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin, and Stanford University’s Lane Medical Library (Ellero 226-228).
But there are rich possibilities for collaborations between publishers and libraries that can build upon existing services such as RSS feeds. A premier example of this is the research tool TicTOCs: TicTOCswas funded by JISC (the UK’s funding agency for technology and education) and developed by a consortium of British university libraries, research institutes, and international publishers of proprietary and open access journals. This innovative collaboration developed a usable tool that enables scholars to gather RSS feeds of table of contents from over 14,000 mostly humanities journals collected from 731 publishers. Tic TOCs does have its limitations, including only being able to ingest journals with existing RSS feeds (Wirth 232). But its simplicity, ease of use, and free access offers a strong prototype for a tool created collaboratively by libraries and journal publishers.
Collaborative publishing initiatives with academic libraries is another potential avenue Library publishing services today range from one journal to a full backlist of journals and books: In a 2007 survey by the Association of Research Libraries, 88 percent of library publishing services produced journals (Hahn 6). Many libraries support institutional repositories for open-access publishing of faculty and student work, such as University of Illinois’s IDEALS. Library publishing services do not mimic traditional publishing services, as they are primarily electronic and are folded within with a suite of scholarly services that embed the library in the center of the scholar’s research process (Hahn 7). Overall, this enables libraries to answer a demand for publishing services to address underserved disciplines, new methodologies, or inadequate dissemination, and there is potential for learned journals to collaborate in these publishing endeavors even more (in fact I believe some do already).
Looking farther to the future, one possibility I’d like to briefly mention are Virtual Research Environments, or VREs, which were actually discussed in yesterday’s Future of Higher Ed panel by the two scientists: Similar to the concept of cyber-infrastructure, VREs provide an online research environment that brings together tools for researchers’ needs (Voss and Proctor 176). VREs are primarily used now in e-science research for data management, but the American Council of Learned Societies’ 2006 Our Cultural Commonwealth report and other research argues that cyber-infrastructure and VREs will become critical for humanities scholarship, and libraries and publishers will play important roles (187).Now Michael Clarke wrote last month on The Scholarly Kitchen, the blog for the Society of Scholarly Publishing, arguing for the inevitable demise of print journals in five years –
But I believe the challenge for libraries and journal publishers today is to balance the needs of scholarly users with efficiency in access and content, and the future of scholarly publishing may lie in combining the analog and digital to produce rich possibilities. As such, collaborative efforts between libraries, learned journals, and scholarly users may be the most fruitful path to achieving those possibilities.Thank you for your time!
Collaborative Economies: Toolsand Strategies for Scholars and LibrariesHarriett Green, English and Digital Humanities Librarian MLA 2012, Learned Journals and Libraries panel
State of Libraries and Journals Today• EBSCO Information Services 2011 survey of libraries: 35% had budget cuts in 2011, 44% had FY12 cuts• 2011 Library Journal periodicals survey: 2012 prices for general periodicals will increase 5-7%, academic titles will increase by 7-9%• Libraries reduce print and expand electronic (Griffin and Foret, 2011; Tyler and Pytlik Zillig, 2009)• Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) 2011 inventory: 530 scholarly societies publishing 616 Open Access journals 2
Literatures and Languages Library• English Library + Modern Languages and Linguistics Library = Literatures and Languages• English Periodicals Room: 285 current journals, 109 journals in bound back issues• Modern Languages and Linguistics Periodicals Room: 450 current journals• Weeding evaluation process: Online access, on-site usage, faculty input 3
Literatures and Languages Journals User Assessment• Distributed in fall 2011 to University of Illinois’s Department of English faculty• Multiple-choice and text entry survey on usage of the Library’s journals collection and general use of periodicals in scholarship• View survey at: https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/green19/journals_su rvey_MLA.docx 4
How They Accessed Journals Databases in Online Research Resources (www.library.illinois.edu/orr) Online Library Catalog Easy Search on the Library Gateway website (www.library.illinois.edu) Google Archived English Library website Series1 Literatures and Languages Library websiteArchived Modern Languages and Linguistics Library website Other 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 Number of respondents 5
Print Journals• “Print journals are most helpful to me in deciding how I want articles I am preparing for publication to look. Although sample articles can be found online, I find it useful to see the print version as well to get a feel for my intended journal.”• “They are better for browsing, and we are more likely to come across journals we dont already know. That is good for graduate students too, since they have to learn the journals in the field/s.”• “Print journals are useful in providing a sense of whats going on in a particular area currently. Although this can also be accomplished online, I find it easier, more convenient and more aesthetically pleasing in print.” 6
E-journals• “These are easily and quickly accessible from any computer, but they suffer since print journals maintain anywhere from a 2 to 5 year lag between original publication and digitization.”• “These provide quick access to articles which I know the title or author. I find search features to yield somewhat incomplete and inconsistent results.”• “Can get them any time. Can get them instantly. Can store the articles easily on my computer. Sometimes they are searchable. As an author I like them because I assume that they get more readers. Students are more likely to use them (though also more likely to abuse them as well, just because they are sometimes inexperienced with how to use journals).” 7
E-Journals vs. Print Use Only print journals “Ive found many special Mostly print journals editions on a topic by finding one article Equally print journals and electronic journals through search and then Mostly electronic tracking it down in print. journals It allows one to see Only electronic journals trends in topics across issues, years, and Other journals in a much different way than some types of online access.” 8
Importance of Journals • “The notion that journals would Importance of Journals be declining in importance to Significant increase in importance scholarly work just doesnt apply to the humanities, at all. ISome increase in importance realize in Computer Science, for No noticeable change example, journals may not haveSome decrease in importance Series1 as much weight as conferences, but for the Significant decrease in importance Humanities, they are vital.” 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 • “Publishers are publishing Number of respondents fewer edited collections; many collections that would have appeared as books are now appearing as special issues of journals.” 9
Improvements in Library Services• “Lists of journals by subfields (plus general English/lit journals), especially for graduate students who often dont know the journals in their field.”• “Improvement of database and catalog searches.”• “Have at least the last ten years of any given journal on hand in the reading room for easy access. Then make sure there is a working copier so that the scholars can copy whatever article interests them for further study.”• “Quicker access to e-journals”• “I think the Library is generally good in this area; the important thing is to maintain access to older journals while adding access to newer journals.” 10
Improvements for Journal Publishers• “Perhaps have more reading options than just plain HTML or the PDFs that look like print pages- -some options on font sizes, clear demarcation of page numbers etc.”• “Journals seem to fail to realize how they are used, in terms of ease of searching for articles.”• “They could dispose of the lag between print publication and digitization.”• “Finding ways to increase circulation.” 11
Themes of Survey• Access: Flexible and content-rich for scholarly communications, research, and teaching• “Looking in journals and reading the articles in them is the first step in any serious scholarship done in the humanities. Without access to journals--easy access-- scholars everywhere would constantly reinvent the wheel unaware that their peers at other institutions had already made the same conclusions.” - Survey• Brockman, Neumann, et al., Scholarly Work in the Humanities and the Evolving Information Environment (2001) 12
Solutions: Library-Based• Literatures and Languages Library Journals database: links to catalog• University of Virginia’s Claude Moore Health Sciences Library: Enhanced web index• University of Wisconsin Ebling Library journals database: full text links, article abstracts, and RSS feeds• Stanford University Lane Medical Library journal database: Impact Factors statistics 13
TicTOCs http://www.tictocs.ac.uk• Developed by consortium of libraries (University of Liverpool), journal publishers (DOAJ, SAGE, ProQuest, Emerald), and research institutes (Institute of Physics)• Table of Contents RSS feeds from 14,508 journals collected from 731 publishers 14
Library Publishing• 2007 Association of Research Libraries survey of 80 academic libraries: – 43 percent of libraries offered publishing services – 21 percent were developing services – Of the publishing services, 88 percent published journals• Full publishing programs, i.e., University of Michigan’s MPublishing• Institutional repositories that host OA scholarly journals, i.e., University of Illinois IDEALS 15
The Future?• Cyber-infrastructure for the humanities: American Council of Learned Societies, Our Cultural Commonwealth report (2006)• Voss and Proctor (2006): Virtual research environments with libraries and publishers• Michael Clarke, demise of print journals: http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2011/12/0 7/the-costs-of-print/ 16
Thank You! Harriett E. GreenEnglish and Digital Humanities Librarian firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @greenharr 17