An' forward, tho' I canna see, I guess an' fear! A view from OCLC Research


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Presentation to Scottish Consortium of University & Research Libraries, 29 Jan 2009

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  • An' forward, tho' I canna see, I guess an' fear! A view from OCLC Research

    1. 1. An' forward, tho' I canna see, I guess an' fear! <ul><li>November 17, 2008 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>John MacColl </li></ul></ul><ul><li>European Director, RLG Partnership, OCLC Research </li></ul><ul><li>27 January 2009 </li></ul>a view from OCLC Research
    2. 2. Prologue <ul><li>Risk </li></ul><ul><li>Scale </li></ul><ul><li>Presence </li></ul>
    3. 3. Our business is at risk Legacy Technology Human Resources Value Proposition Durable Goods Intellectual Property … a reduced sense of library relevance from below, above, and within … uncertainties about adequate preparation, adaptability, capacity for leadership in face of change … changing value of library collections and space; prices go up, value goes down – accounting doesn’t acknowledge the change … managing and maintaining legacy systems is a challenge; replacement parts are hard to find … losing some traditional assets to commercial providers (e.g. Google Books) and failing to assume clear ownership stake in others (e.g. local scholarly outputs)
    4. 4. Concentration A web-scale presence Mobilise data Diffusion Disclosure of links, data and services Scale matters
    5. 5. Discovery happens elsewhere Image:
    6. 6. Collections <ul><li>Google: Yes we can </li></ul><ul><li>The race for relevance </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasis on the unique </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative storage </li></ul><ul><li>Preservation via print </li></ul><ul><li>Organisation for network-level benefits </li></ul>
    7. 7. Yale University
    8. 8. We are now in a race to remain relevant to researchers <ul><li>‘ Cataloguing is a function which is not working’ (Greene-Meissner) </li></ul><ul><li>Forget item level description </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Insanity is when you do things the way you’ve always done them, but expect a different result’ (Einstein and/or Emerson) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Good enough’ beats perfection </li></ul><ul><li>Let go of ‘the completeness syndrome’ (Ross Atkinson) </li></ul>
    9. 9. Effectively disclosing archives and special collections While the mass digitisation partnerships have focused largely on published works, our approaches to archives and special collections can evolve to make a significant contribution
    10. 10. Library storage facilities <ul><li>Recommendations for current storage institutions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Aggressively archive print journals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implement last copies policies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disclose holdings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explore subscription models </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Recommendations for the academic library community </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Define mechanisms for disclosure and associated services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider joining a formal print repository network </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop sustainable business models </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Evidence-based collaborative action “ In sum, the evidence in hand suggests that there is substantially less duplication in aggregate holdings than is required to achieve the preservation guarantees obtained in Yano’s model. Given unrelenting space pressures on library print collections, and decreasing circulation rates, it seems imperative that libraries – research libraries, in particular – take immediate action to establish a common understanding of our respective (and collective) preservation goals and identify the core requirements for managing this highly distributed, thinly duplicated resource as a single, shared collection”. - Constance Malpas, blog post, July 8, 2008
    12. 12. Rareness is common (2005)
    13. 13. Aggregation as a quality pump
    14. 14. Multilingual authorities
    15. 15. Digitisation <ul><li>Access before preservation </li></ul><ul><li>Collapse decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Quantity has a quality all of its own </li></ul><ul><li>Digitisation is collection </li></ul><ul><li>Three non-boutique approaches </li></ul>
    16. 16. Access vs preservation: in the digitised world, access wins! <ul><li>No one has been throwing away originals … so preservation needs are best served by them </li></ul><ul><li>Only by surfacing presently ignored collections can we justify their preservation </li></ul><ul><li>Our brave new world shows we can (usually) go back and do it again </li></ul>
    17. 17. Handle only once <ul><li>Selection has already been done </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t spend time selecting items to digitise </li></ul><ul><li>Capture materials as accessioned </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For important collections, capture it all </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For others, sample and allow user interest to guide your choices </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Capture on demand </li></ul><ul><li>Capture ‘signposts’ and devote more attention when/where warranted </li></ul>Woodcut from Sebastian Brant, ‘ Stultifera…’ The ship of fooles… 1570 University of Edinburgh Library
    18. 18. Contributions Engage your community
    19. 19. ‘ I guess it’s a brand-new day’ (Günter Waibel) 89 records updated
    20. 20. Quality vs quantity: quantity wins! <ul><li>The perfect has been the enemy of the possible </li></ul><ul><li>Achieving excellence can have a substantial cost </li></ul><ul><li>Any access is better than none at all </li></ul><ul><li>Instead of measuring cataloguer/archivist output we should be measuring impact on users </li></ul>
    21. 21. Combine approaches
    22. 22. Research Support <ul><li>Research primitives </li></ul><ul><li>Get to know the campus map </li></ul><ul><li>Join the reputation game </li></ul>
    23. 23. What are researchers really doing? ‘ Primitives’
    24. 24. Isolated primitives: then what? Wendy Lougee. Mellon-funded multi-dimensional framework for academic support. June 2006 ‘ Primitives’ Services Diane Harley. Mellon-funded study. Interim Report, August 2008 “ Our work to date has confirmed the important impact of disciplinary culture and tradition on many scholarly communication habits. These traditions may override the perceived “o p portunities ” afforded by new technologies, including those falling into the Web 2.0 category.”
    25. 25. Don’t assume we fully understand or can dictate workflows Rick Luce: ARL/CNI presentation on the future support of eResearch, October 2008
    26. 26. Discovery happens elsewhere
    27. 27. The library in your interest <ul><ul><ul><li>We will provide you dedicated space on a server </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We’ll help you structure that space to organize your notes, your datasets, others’ publications, your presentations … </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We’ll help you load it if you like </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We’ll back up your work </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We’ll ensure you can access your data remotely, no matter where you are </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We’ll provide tools for group work and version control at the file level </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We’ll help you negotiate publication rights </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We’ll help you comply with disciplinary archive requirements </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We’ll see that your work is disseminated broadly, quickly, and openly </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We’ll do the authority work to ensure you are credited for all your work, despite various forms of your name </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We’ll keep your personal bibliography up-to-date </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We’ll provide you with a customizable personal web page </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We’ll include you in the campus expertise database and facilitate your inclusion in disciplinary expertise databases </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We’ll preserve your research outputs in the institutional repository and facilitate its inclusion in disciplinary repositories </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We’ll see that you can take your work with you if you leave this institution </li></ul></ul></ul>
    28. 28. Epilogue <ul><li>Risks </li></ul><ul><li>Change </li></ul>
    29. 29. Highest risks Impact <ul><li>Availability of online information resources (Google, etc.) weakens visibility and value of library </li></ul><ul><li>User base erodes because library value proposition is not effectively communicated </li></ul><ul><li>Conservative nature of library inhibits timely adaptation to changed circumstances </li></ul><ul><li>Conservative nature of library inhibits timely adaptation to changed circumstances </li></ul><ul><li>Recruitment and retention of resources is difficult due to reduction in pool of qualified candidates </li></ul>These risks will remain high but can be managed 1 Effective network disclosure Human Resources Value Proposition Move new services ‘into the flow’ 6 14 12 Articulate compelling new vision to attract a new generation of library professionals
    30. 30. “ It is not the strongest of the species … nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” — Charles Darwin Image: Auckland Museum
    31. 31. Thank You John MacColl [email_address] .org OCLC Research