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Long Tails of Efficiencies of Scale


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Presented by Joy Palmer at the JISC Future of Research Conference, 19th October 2010

Published in: Education, Technology
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Long Tails of Efficiencies of Scale

  1. 1. Long Tails & Efficiencies of ScaleSupporting arts & humanities research today and into the future<br />Joy Palmer<br /><br />@joypalmer<br />
  2. 2. Delivering several key JISC national library & bibliographic services<br />Copac <br />Archives Hub<br />Zetoc <br />Journals Usage Stats Portal <br />Historical Books & Journals<br />
  3. 3. i.e. supporting arts & humanities researchwith far, far less resource<br />
  4. 4. So for any services we need to articulate<br />user demand <br />benefits<br />impact & value<br />sustainability<br />the BUSINESS CASE<br />
  5. 5. Shared services<br />
  6. 6. Resource discovery shared services for researchers<br />Copac<br />Online national union catalogue<br />55 libraries +<br />Research libraries & special collections<br />50 million+ library records<br />800,000 – 1 million search sessions per month<br />Archives Hub<br />Online finding aid<br />187 archival repositories +<br />HEIs & specialist archives<br />22,000 archival descriptions<br />50,000 search sessions per month<br />
  7. 7. Value added via:<br />Aggregation<br />Normalisation<br />Collaboration<br />Scale<br />
  8. 8. Benefits for libraries<br />“It saves us an immense amount of time because otherwise we would have to try and guess where something would come from because we just wouldn’t have the time to go through all of those libraries separately, so it really is a very useful tool.”<br />
  9. 9. Creating efficiencies…<br />“It would cripple our document supply service because we’re such a small department, we just wouldn’t be able to provide an effective service.”<br />
  10. 10. Providing quality information<br />“[if it didn’t exist] there would be a much greater chance of missing things, getting references wrong, not finding correct references and more cases where the reader did not find what they were looking for.”<br />
  11. 11. Supporting quality research<br />“It would certainly reduce the range of sources that we used for foreign material, and it would make it much harder for us to supply difficult, particularly foreign language material to our readers.”<br />
  12. 12. Substantially more respondents use Copac than the other 2 services<br />40% of Hub respondents s are involved in FE & HE<br />Most Copac respondents work in the historical & philosophical studies subject area<br />Most Zetoc respondents work in sciences, agriculture and medicine<br />
  13. 13. How do they search?<br />Centrifugal searchers<br />‘Berry-picking’ from various trails<br />Forensic in nature<br />
  14. 14. What do they value?<br />Location information<br />Comprehensiveness<br />Accuracy<br />Digital surrogates<br />The object itself…<br />
  15. 15. Benefits to users…<br />“without this it would take me so long to try and track down records and it would cost me a lot of money to travel to libraries to look though their online records if it was only limited to access at their library. I probably couldn’t have included the most up-to-date research or found historical research” (Archaeology, Postgrad)<br />
  16. 16. Serendipity<br />
  17. 17. “…it’s a unique first step into a whole network of all sorts of possibilities. Not just the high-tech ones and the digital ones, but also locating resources, locating people who know about them and developing your personal networks” <br />
  18. 18. Discovering the rare, the unique, the unknown…<br />
  19. 19. “As a UK academic researcher I am really pleased with the service that Copac provides in enabling me to find rare resources which are not available at my institution. I wouldn't be able to find things without it”<br />
  20. 20. “(Copac) is extremely helpful to search Arabic sources. <br />It helps to avoid the inconsistencies in the transliteration of Arabic and Hebrew scripts of individual catalogues.” <br />
  21. 21. Saving time for actual research<br />
  22. 22. “without this it would take me so long to try and track down records.<br />It would cost me a lot of money to travel to libraries & archives to look though their online records if it was only limited to access at their institution.”<br />
  23. 23. Where next?<br />
  24. 24.
  25. 25. What could a national aggregation of ‘academic’ activity data enable?<br />
  26. 26.
  27. 27.
  28. 28. What if?<br />this represented a national aggregation of data gathered from the usage activity of these researchers, collected as they worked with a national aggregation of unique or rare research collections?<br />
  29. 29. In humanities research it’s<br />all the way<br />
  30. 30. What can this mean?<br />Surfacing and increasing usage of hidden collections ( & demonstrating value)<br />Providing new routes to discovery based on use and disciplinary contexts (not traditional classification).<br />Powering ‘centrifugal searching’ and discovery through serendipity<br />Enabling new, original research – academic excellence…<br />
  31. 31. And we can make the data work harder to solve other problems<br />
  32. 32. Explore concepts across disciplines <br />Discover new relationships <br />Speed up early stages of research<br />More research, less search<br />
  33. 33. Our challenges…<br />Effective Coordination & leadership<br />Developing robust business cases<br />Engaging researchers in their contexts<br />Identifying quick wins & practical ways to add value<br />And also driving innovation & exploration in resource discovery and usage<br />
  34. 34. Thank you for listening<br />