thank you ... when I was asked to come here today, talking about the significance of marketing digital collections was something that I had both experience in and felt I could speak to.. ...but as so often happens with these sorts of things, over the course of putting together the presentation this weekend, I realized that marketing was only part of what I was interested in contributing. ... reviewing the data I am about to present and the conclusions that I was drawing I realized that this presentation was as much about what we can learn about the current state of academic libraries as it is about a particular case study. so.. [next slide]
This presentation will be in 3 parts the first will be a discussion of a particular method that can be used to understand current and potential markets for libraries and digital projects - the second part will be a case study about two web sites and a marketing campaign from Harvard’s Open Collections programme - and the 3rd part will be about why I think either of these first things is significant within the context of today’s academic libraries.
The method I am going to speak about first is called inlink analysis. [ click ] -- Inlinks are defined simply as any link to a web site. [ click ] -- If 4 different web sites link to Web site A... it is said to have 4 inlinks [ click ] Inlink analysis builds in many ways on top of citation analysis... which also means it comes with all of its baggage and controversy about whether it is a valid way of measuring impact. Like with citation analysis you are assuming that someone has created a link to a page because they think a resource is valuable in some way and want to direct people to it. You can probably get better data from log files on web servers, BUT, without having access to log files or the backend of a web site, there is very little that can otherwise be done to understand usage patterns. In this way inlink analysis tools can help you compare your site to others — which can be both an interesting exercise in understanding your audience and an important tool for sharing information with funders.
When I came to the Oxford Internet Institute in 2007 it was to try find out about the impact of digitisation on scholarship in the humanities. When I was at Harvard (I will talk more about my experiences there in a bit) we used to track the number of inlinks to our digital collections on a regular basis. We used this to find reviews of our web sites, to identify uses of the materials in classes and assignments, and to generally track whether the sites were being used. All of this, I realized could also help me understand the impact of digitisation on scholarship. But I also realized that inlink analysis could help me understand another kind of impact—the impact of marketing on the success of certain projects.
So in order gain a better understanding of the state of the digitisation projects on the web, I designed a small study to compare inlinks to 289 digitisation projects. Within the scope of this project, I defined ‘digitization projects’ as any web site that contains digitally reformatted materials... with an emphasis on primary resources. [click] Some examples would be: Gallica from the bnf [click] The online gallery from the British Library [click] American Memory from The library of congress [click] but also smaller collections like Darwin Online and the Einstein Archive [click]
To perform the comparison I used a piece of software called Lexi URL Searcher which was created by a colleague at Wolverhampton and is available for free to download and use. There is also a service available from Yahoo called Site Explorer which can provide inlink data. I don’t want to get bogged down here in the details and differences between the two, but will be happy to answer more questions at the end if there is time.
The project itself involved using LexiURL to count the links to 289 of these sites. And then ranking them from most to least linked to The top 5 sites with the most inlinks were Project Gutenberg American Memory from the Library of Congress Gallica from the BNF Making of America from Cornekk And the Million Book Collection From Carnegie Mellon. [click] I expected to see a few sites dominating the field, but was quite surprised at the sharp dropoff that resulted. Not only are there really only 2 sites out front-- Project Gutenberg and American memory-- but... [click] the fourth most linked-to site contains only 16% of the inlinks of the most linked to site... [click] and the tenth most linked to site contains only 4%.
I next decided to cross reference these findings with the Alexa Search Engine, -- which provides usage data for web sites. It collects data from users who have installed the Alexa toolbar in their browser. The order of the top 2 sites was reversed with american memory coming showing more usage but overall it supported the idea that these heavily linked to sites are also heavily used.
So, there are a number of reasons that could account for the steep dropoff in inlinks - an obvious one is scope, The top 5 sites are both quite general and quite large, but I am not convinced that scope alone can account for it: There is also a chance that the rest of these sites are used but not linked to... which would support the myth that humanities scholars just aren’t that technically saavy... but I don’t buy that. [click] In a survey from early 2008 that I conducted, of 440 humanities scholars who answered the question “do you have a website or blog?” ... 211 said “yes” so the mechanism is there for people to easily create links to these collections. I think it is much more likely that so many of these sites aren’t linked to because they aren’t used... ... and they aren’t used ... because they aren’t found
In another survey completed this Spring at the Oxford Internet Institute and funded by JISC, we were trying to gauge awareness of 5 of JISCs 1 st round digitisation projects. We asked 550 respondents if they had seen or used any of the following projects (the JISC ones are circled). This shows the percentage of respondents in the UK (in the darker colour) and outside the UK (orange) who were aware of each of these resources. You can see that for most of these projects, the awareness was well below 50%
Looking just at the JISC projects, you can see that the number of people who haven’t heard of these projects is (with the exception of the British Library’s newspapers project) in all cases at least 2 to 3 times greater than the people who have seen a project, but don’t use it. So lack of use does seem to really be about lack of awareness. So what have the top sites done right? Why are they so well known?
Some of this is from things that we obviously think of as marketing. The library of Congress has not only spent money to produce traditional marketing materials--brochures and posters--the same sorts of things that you might produce if you were trying to sell subscriptions to a collection, but they created--from day 1--a destination portal for their community of users
Project Gutenberg, on the other hand, has done little or no traditional marketing as far as I can tell, but they have done something that I think is equally as important. Because they provide all of their titles in formats that are easily indexed by search engines, they have an incredibly high page ranking. Paying attention to your Google page rank—often called search engine optimization—is a really important parallel to traditional marketing activities
So on to the Harvard case study.... I feel I have to begin this part of the presentation with a disclaimer. I worked for the Harvard Open Collections Programme for 5 years. So what I am about to say is likely in no way neutral. ... But when conducting the inlink analysis I just spoke about, one of the things I discovered was that of the two collections I built and managed during my tenure at Harvard, one had 3196 inlinks [click] the other just 844 [click] (or 26% as many) click My first thought was that one collection has been public for almost two years longer than another which could explain the difference.
So I have been tracking the inlinks for over a year now and found that the one collection has remained at about one quarter of the inlinks for that whole time. If this was just about the time available, I would have expected that gap to close.
So, let me back up a bit and give you a little bit of history about the open collections programme, to put this in context: There were 2 initial goals that we set out to accomplish by digitizing some of Harvard’s historical holdings and making them freely available on the web: [click] The first was to: “ to increase the availability and use of historical resources from Harvard's libraries, archives and museums for teaching, learning, and research” [click] The second: “ to offer a new model for digital collections that would benefit students and teachers around the world”
We also designed a set of 3 quality standards that would guide every aspect of the building of the collections: These were our principles for selection Production and Access And it is really the access standards that I am going to speak about here. “ Provide easy online access to digital collections within the Harvard community and around the world.” [looking back on it now it sounds deceptively simple]
The first collection we built was called Women Working It was about the role of women in the US economy from 1700 to 1930... and it contains over five-hundred-thousand page images of digitized historical materials. including: 1200 photographs
Over 7500 pages of manuscripts
Including letters and diaries
And over 3500 pamphlets
books, and other printed materials
Building on the access standards which we had set for ourselves, when the collection was about 1/2 complete, we embarked on an outreach (or marketing) campaign to let potential users know the collection existed. - we sent announcements to listservs did mailings of paper brochures to several thousand librarians - we took out full page advertisements in conference publications and relevant journals, such as the journal of american history - and we started an email newsletter that included a section highlighting new additions to the collection in order to get people coming back again and again to the site - And using inlink analysis, we looked for faculty teaching relevant courses and contacted them directly about the materials in our collection that were relevant to their courses
The activities themselves are not necessarily significant though—because 4 years later we might have chosen different methods-- ...but the point is that we got to know our target community and we went to where they were.
Web site traffic increased significantly as the outreach activities began and there was the expected dip at the end of the school year [click] ... And perhaps more importantly, at the end of a 6-month period, a large volume of visits was generated by a growing number of faithful repeat visitors.
Despite the increase in traffic to the web site and the favourable reviews that it generated The overwhelming message from the library administration in regard to the marketing campaign was ‘ that is not our job’ [ click ] we don’t do marketing, we are a library. there was a definite sense that if we just put these things out there, people will find them (particularly because we are harvard) [ click] - and that our attention was better spent on preserving materials... ... we were eventually told to scale back on the outreach and to just digitize more stuff.. [ click] [ click] - ironically, the entire campaign only cost us 2% of our project budget, so this didn’t result in a huge increase in digitized materials -- our second collection, about Immigration to the US, was of similar size and scale, and potentially a much larger audience as it contains materials in at least ten languages but it never received the attention of the first. And I think this is why it just a quarter of the inlinks of the first collection
So, my response to the claim that “this is not our job” was that outreach and marketing is indeed a core part of our job as librarians. [click] It is has been the core function of an academic library for over a thousand years to support scholarly communities and the process of scholarship and new knowledge creation [click] and now that some of those communities are moving onto the web [click] It is still the core function of an academic library to support scholarly communities
There is a tendency today to talk about how much libraries have changed, but I think it is also important to understand how they have not changed. SR Ranganathan, the Indian mathematician and librarian is most well known for his Five Laws of Library Science
But almost 80 years ago, he said of libraries: “ It is no wonder that, when the library has been extending its scope, changing its outlook and altering its very character and functions, there should not be adequate understanding among the public as to what has been going on.”
Marketing matters today more than ever because there is so little understanding today of the role of academic libraries. Marketing is an opportunity to re-define the role of library for patrons and for librarians. Successful marketing is not only about getting your product out there, it is about understanding how it is used; It is about forming a relationship with a community of users; And it is about understanding the effects and impact of what you are doing in order to do it better.
I have a theory that our current understanding of what we do in libraries arose about 150 years ago. This was a time when academia in general was growing tremendously. The number of people taking higher degrees began to accelerate and size of library collections grew accordingly. As a result, the academic library’s relationship to information changed completely. As Andrew Abbott has said, the response of libraries to this growth was that they quote [click] “ counted on indexing to save the day” and ever since [click] “ their aim has been to make of the library a universal identification, location, and access machine”
The result was that we moved at that point from a model that put people at the centre of libraries, to a model that puts information at the centre. And I would argue that neither we as librarians nor our users have really come to grips with this – this is what is still causing all of that confusion that Ranganathan pointed out so long ago. But one of the biggest problems with this model is that if the library really is all about information retrieval, we have already lost at this game.
Google does information indexing and retrieval better than we do.
So I think that a successful model of an academic research library needs to put people—and the specific process that they engage in known as scholarship—back at the centre. And information retrieval then becomes one of the services the library offers.
Looking at this is way, libraries become spaces—either real or virtual—where scholars turn existing information into new knowledge They are a dynamic space that supports the discovery, learning, knowing and the creation of scholarship. And marketing then becomes a dynamic process that involves understanding how to holistically support scholarly communities.
So to go back to digital collections and digitization projects, Part of adhering to this new model means putting care into everything you do and understanding the relationship of your collection with your users. It means marketing the library itself, not just the services. It some ways it is about rebranding the academic library. Going back to Ranganathan, he actually understood this quite well.
He had something to say about every aspect of libraries. Extrapolating on his first law: Books are for use. He talked about the appropriate height of library shelves: “ no rack shall be higher than what can be reached by a person of average height, while standing on the bare floor” If we apply that to online collections and communities, it means - don’t make it difficult for people to get to the materials - build easy to use interfaces
On providing appropriate reference services he said: “The majority of readers do not know their requirements, and their interests take a definite shape only after seeing and handling a well-arranged collection of books” Online this means build collections that can be easily navigated and allow for serendipitous discovery of materials.
About the opening hours of libraries he said: “ In no country where the concept, ‘BOOKS ARE FOR USE,’ has taken root in the Public Mind, will any library be allowed to close until the majority of humanity go to bed and cannot use it” which I take to mean: build a stable infrastructure.. if users come knocking at your door too many times and you are closed, they will stop coming back
And on the location for a library “ a library that is keen about its books being fully used will plant itself in the midst of its clientele” which I think brings us back to marketing... I think we are here because we are keen to see the library both understood and used... So it means Go where your patrons are And That entails understanding your users... and not just on the surface – not just their fads and trends-- but understanding what the essential qualities of scholarship are... The idea of marketing the library has been around much longer than facebook or the web. And it means understanding what the essential qualities of libraries are.
Because it is to easy to arrive back at this point of misunderstanding again.
So in conclusion I just want to give you a URL where you can find out more about some of the tools that I spoke about. And also to thank several of the people with whom I have worked on these issues over a number of years. Thank you,
Importance of 'marketing digital collection'
The importance of “marketing”digital collections: including acase study from Harvard Christine Madsen MjU Knowledge Consulting & 29 July 2009 | ALISS Oxford Internet Institute
3 Part Presentation Tools for understanding markets In-link analysis Harvard Open Collections Program Case Study What did “marketing” do for us? Why is any of this important? What does this have to do academic libraries today?
Inlink Analysis‘Inlink’ = any link to a web site Measuring inlinks = citation analysis site A other sites [site A has 4 inlinks]
Deciphering ‘Impact’ Impact of digitisation on scholarship Impact of marketing on the success of projects
Inlink Software LexiURL Searcher http://lexiurl.wlv.ac.uk Yahoo Site Explorer https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com
The State of Digitisation:Inlink Analysis 1. http://www.gutenberg.org Project Gutenberg LC American 2. http://memory.loc.gov Memory 3. http://gallica.bnf.fr/ BNF Gallica 4. http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/moa/index.html of Cornell Making America Carnegie Mellon: 4% 5. http://www.ulib.org/ Million Book Collection 16%
Harvard Open Collections ProgramCase Study Goals to increase the availability and use of historical resources from Harvards libraries, archives and museums for teaching, learning, and research to offer a new model for digital collections that will benefit students and teachers around the world
Harvard Open Collections Program Case Study Selection Standards - Create comprehensive, topic-based digital collections by carefully selecting topics, andmaterials; Production Standards - Create digital surrogates that areboth faithful to the original publications and of such highquality that there will be no need for re-digitization byother institutions; Access Standards - Provide easy online access to digitalcollections within the Harvard community and around theworld.
Harvard Open Collections Program Case Study Marketing [outreach] campaign Hiring an ‘outreach and evaluation coordinator.’ An email announcement campaign targeted at faculty, teachers, researchers, and librarians in relevant subject areas. Searching course syllabi and descriptions to compile a list of relevant courses, instructors, and institutions and contacting individual instructors to engage them in using materials. Contacting the creators of similar sites to ask if they would link to our site. A mailing of printed brochures to over 2,000 librarians in relevant subject areas with information included on how they could receive more brochures for their library. A monthly email newsletter letting users know what was new to the collections and including small case studies of our users. Press releases to media outlets. Full-page advertisements in conference publications and relevant journals.
Harvard Open Collections Program Case Study Target InternetNetworks Libraries/ Target Users Librarians Educators Researchers General Public Students “Trickle Down” Users 24
Harvard Open Collections Program Case Study ‘But that’s not our job’ Build it and they will come. Our job is to preserve We should be digitizing more... Entire campaign cost 2% of our project budget (approx $30,000USD)
Marketing in Libraries ‘But it is our job’ core function of academic libraries for 1,000 years = supporting scholarly communities but those communities are moving onto the web it is STILL the core function of academic libraries to support these scholarly communities
So why does any of this matter? Ranganathan’s Five Laws of Library Science Books are for use Every reader, his or her book Every book its reader Save the time of the reader A library is a growing organism
So why does any of this matter?“It is no wonder that, when the library has been extending its scope, changing its outlook and altering its very character and functions, there should not be adequate understanding among the public as to what has been going on.” 29
Marketing Matters Opportunity to re-define the role of Library Understanding use Forming a relationship with a community Understanding impact 30
The Current Model “counted on indexing to save the day” “a universal identification, location, and access machine”
The New Model scholarly communitiesInformation Library Knowledge
Marketing the Library… Not just the services Ranganathan’s Five Laws of Library Science Books are for use Every reader, his or her book Every book its reader Save the time of the reader A library is a growing organism
Marketing library model => OnlineAcademic the Library… Not just the services BOOKS ARE FOR USE “no rack shall be higher than what can be reached by a person of average height, while standing on the bare floor” ✓ don’t make it difficult for people to get to the materials ✓ build easy to use interfaces
Marketing library model => Online Academic the Library… Not just the services “The majority of readers do not know their requirements, and their interests take a definite shape only after seeing and handling a well-arranged collection of books” ✓ Build collections that can be easily navigated ✓ Allow for serendipitous discovery of materials
Marketing the Library… Academic library model => Online Not just the services “In no country where the concept, ‘BOOKS ARE FOR USE,’ has taken root in the Public Mind, will any library be allowed to close until the majority of humanity go to bed and cannot use it” ✓ build a stable infrastructure ✓ if users find a place ‘closed’ too many times, they will stop coming back
Marketing library model => Online Academic the Library… Not just the services “a library that is keen about its books being fully used will plant itself in the midst of its clientele” ✓ Market your library ✓ Understand your users ✓ Build and support a community
Marketing the Library… Not just the services“It is no wonder that, when the library has been extending its scope, changing its outlook and altering its very character and functions, there should not be adequate understanding among the public as to what has been going on.”
For more information TIDSR: The Toolkit for the Impact of Digitised Scholarly Resources http://microsites.oii.ox.ac.uk/tidsr/Thank you Thomas J. Michalak Megan Hurst Kathryn Eccles / Eric Meyer