Weighing the Evidence: Evaluating Major Research                   Databases Charleston Pre-Conference Sponsored by CRL   ...
Overview What are major non-journal research databases? Institutional and consortial overview „Threading the needle‟ of...
University of Ottawa Premier bilingual (English-French) university in North    America   Comprehensive doctoral institut...
Library snapshot Three libraries: Arts & Sciences, Health    Sciences, and Law   Collection budget: 13.6M (2011-12)   ~...
Non-journal research databases Are primary source or raw content; in various  media including text, image, audio, video, ...
What is evidence anyway? “Evidence is shown to us every single day - as we  practice our profession, we learn what works ...
Consortial landscape National consortium: CRKN (Canadian Research  Knowledge Network – 75 universities) Regional consort...
„Intellectual‟ thread                       Institution                 ConsortiaNon-journal research   Of high importance...
„Structural Support‟ Thread                         Institution               ConsortiaDiscoverability          Metadata i...
„Business case‟ thread                       Institution              ConsortiaCost models            Affordability       ...
Charleston Conference Theme:„Something‟s Gotta Give‟ Where do we cut corners in assessing evidence? If we know the vendo...
Observations Libraries are faced with an explosion of scholarly  resources, challenged budgets, emerging  needs, and chro...
Observations ( a few more) Tools to analyze non-journal scholarly resources  are difficult to come by – no easy equivalen...
Conclusion Evidence for non-journal databases is multi-    layered and multi-faceted   Weighting the evidence – we need ...
Thanks!Tony Horavathorava@uottawa.ca(613) 562-5800 ext 3645
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Weighing the evidence crl preconference charleston 2011

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  • A few examples: Early English Books Online (ProQuest); The Making of the Modern World (Gale); North American Women’s Letters and Diaries (Alexander Street Press); Mass Observation Online (Adam Matthews)
  • Continuations, eg Section II or Part 3 of an existing product, will receive less scrutinyInstitutional memory – building on the past – what was decided and why. How can this be documented?
  • Historical business relationships play important role in developing new offers and the decision-making processTo thread the needle, the evidence for a product needs to navigate the different threads and find its way through
  • Weighing the evidence crl preconference charleston 2011

    1. 1. Weighing the Evidence: Evaluating Major Research Databases Charleston Pre-Conference Sponsored by CRL Tony Horava AUL Collections, University of Ottawa, Canada Nov 2, 2011
    2. 2. Overview What are major non-journal research databases? Institutional and consortial overview „Threading the needle‟ of assessment – what gets through and why? Intellectual thread Structural support thread Business case thread Observations Conclusion
    3. 3. University of Ottawa Premier bilingual (English-French) university in North America Comprehensive doctoral institution: 9 Faculties: Arts, Social Sciences, Science, Engineering, Law, Management, Education, Health Sciences and Medicine Recently admitted to ARL (125th member) 40,000 students, 4,000 faculty; programs across most non-professional and professional disciplines; Students and faculty from 150 countries Among the top ten institutions in research intensity in Canada
    4. 4. Library snapshot Three libraries: Arts & Sciences, Health Sciences, and Law Collection budget: 13.6M (2011-12) ~145FTE; bilingual service Print books (volume equivalent)– ~2M Ejournal subscriptions – 24,524 Print journal subscriptions – 3,839 „Accessible‟ ejournals – 70,000 Ebooks – 405,000 Research databases – 550
    5. 5. Non-journal research databases Are primary source or raw content; in various media including text, image, audio, video, etc Historical, social, economic, business or legal in nature Typically vetted by editorial board composed of recognized scholars; lengthy gestation & quality control Often provides critical apparatus somewhat analagous to print resources…but used very differently
    6. 6. What is evidence anyway? “Evidence is shown to us every single day - as we practice our profession, we learn what works and what doesn‟t in certain situations. We have practical, real-life experiences to draw upon that are wrapped in different contexts.”- Denise Koufogiannakis, Evidence-Based Libraryand Information Practice 2011, 6.2http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/10245/8126• Trial and error• No uniform approach• Context is everything
    7. 7. Consortial landscape National consortium: CRKN (Canadian Research Knowledge Network – 75 universities) Regional consortia, eg OCUL (Ontario Council of University Libraries – 21 universities) Subject or program-based consortia, eg Health Sciences; Maps ; Data services; Law Language-based: CREPUQ (Quebec universities) ; CIFNAL (Collaboration on French language collections – CRL initiative)
    8. 8. „Intellectual‟ thread Institution ConsortiaNon-journal research Of high importance SamematerialCoverage Could be broad or Same niche-basedUnique value May complement Critical mass of content existing resources to address many needsInterdisciplinarity Important for Same…but greater strengthening value savings expected propositionPrioritization Balancing of different Balancing of different interests among faculty interests among – are we democratic? If institutions from small not, why? to very large - flexibilityExisting evidence Input from faculty; trial Member surveys/wish use; perhaps reviews lists are critical
    9. 9. „Structural Support‟ Thread Institution ConsortiaDiscoverability Metadata in local Diffuse need to take discovery system into account various (webscale) systemsIntegration with Focus on local tools Focus on a range ofresearcher workflows and workflows tools, eg citation management softwareMobile access Becoming critical SameFunctionality/platform Core functions; bells & Same whistles not essentialCompatibility with Important for managing Important butstandards, eg the resources institutions haveCOUNTER, SUSHI, different needs &KBART, etc infrastructuresIndexing Important for precision Same & efficiencyTrials Can be valuable – not Same
    10. 10. „Business case‟ thread Institution ConsortiaCost models Affordability Cost-sharing is critical; perception of equity is essentialFinancing Self-financing. Cost- Multiple approaches to sharing among funds or cost-sharing disciplinesScale of costs All products, small to Products with small large in costs costs not worth the effortSustainability Recurring costs a Lowering recurring challenge costs – overhead as wellValue proposition (ROI) Associated with Associated with institutional strategic consortial performance measures goalsLicensing issues, eg Institutional Bargaining power as
    11. 11. Charleston Conference Theme:„Something‟s Gotta Give‟ Where do we cut corners in assessing evidence? If we know the vendor, and we know the platform and business model, we can be more efficient in our evaluation What breadth of interest is necessary for a purchase decision? Much depends on cost, impact, and degree of interdisciplinarity. In general, one-time purchases will not elicit the same scrutiny as ongoing commitments
    12. 12. Observations Libraries are faced with an explosion of scholarly resources, challenged budgets, emerging needs, and chronic lack of time Consortia face longer processes and timelines than institutions. Is there an opportunity cost? For consortia, the multi-faceted evidence is filtered through the prism of strategic goals Dynamics of decision-making in consortia and in institutions affect the forms of evidence that are used – political aspects
    13. 13. Observations ( a few more) Tools to analyze non-journal scholarly resources are difficult to come by – no easy equivalent to the standard unit of the journal article as vehicle for scholarly communication. Comparing digital resources to print „equivalent‟ is a dubious proposition: differing content, uses, and interactions Institutions are focusing on quantitative and now qualitative measures of value – can we link these research databases to learning outcomes, to research outcomes? What happens when evidence is contradictory or inconclusive?
    14. 14. Conclusion Evidence for non-journal databases is multi- layered and multi-faceted Weighting the evidence – we need to prioritize the different threads, and this will vary depending on the product More than ever, libraries have an obligation to spend their monies as wisely and effectively as possible. Libraries and consortia apply different but overlapping strategies to evidence-gathering Understanding & sharing best practices can be of much value
    15. 15. Thanks!Tony Horavathorava@uottawa.ca(613) 562-5800 ext 3645

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