Emea, March 2011


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  • Good morning ladies and gentlemen, My name is Marion van Brunschot and I’am Head of the Acquisitions & Metadata Services Department of the University Library of the University of Amsterdam. I’am very happy to be here in Frankfurt and I’am grateful for OCLC’s invitation to share with you some of our efforts to enhance the efficiency of our workflows.
  • Before talking about improving efficiency and workflows I would like to share with you some facts & figures about my University and my University Library just to give you a general idea of my background. Then I’d like to give you an impression of our local efforts to enhance efficiency and finally I will give you some information on the broader Dutch perspective.
  • So let’s start with some background information on my organization. The University of Amsterdam is one of the larger comprehensive universities in Europe and is a member of the League of European Research Universities. Our university has a rich history and can be dated back to it’s predecessor, the Athenaeum Illustre, in 1632. Just to give you an impression I have some figures from 2009 when the University offered more than 250 bachelor and master programs (many of which in English) to over 30,000 students. In that year our staff consisted of more than 5.000 persons and our scientific output amounted to nearly 8.000 publications and 400 PhD’s. Our annual budget was a little under 600 million euro.
  • Our University Library, which consists of several departments and is housed at various locations, owns the largest single library collection in the Netherlands. It contains over four million books, 145.000 print journals, some 300.000 e-resources (22.000 e-journals and 274.00 other e-resources), 70.000 manuscripts, 500.000 letters, 125.000 maps and over 100.000 museum objects. Furthermore we have in excess of 1.000 special collections and archives (including b ook history, cartography, Jewish culture, religious and zoological collections but also cookery books and comics) Our annual budget for this year is 35,3 million euro and we have a staff of 183 full time equivalents.
  • So not only do we have a substantial general collection including a fair number of outstanding research collections, but we also have a number of beautiful historic buildings right in the city center.
  • Furthermore we also have a fairly impressive archeological museum and we have our own university museum.
  • Within this rather heterogeneous organization we nevertheless all share the same mission: 1) to deliver state-of-the-art library services to all our students and researchers 2) to be service and customer oriented 3) to be innovative 4) and to be a reliable caretaker of our cultural heritage collections
  • In order to support this mission we focus strongly on efficiency, but before concentrating on back-office efficiency, I’d like to show you one example of our enhanced customer services of which we are very proud and that is our new RFID based, self service lending room. This spectacular looking room is open from morning till midnight and not only gained us a lot of attention and goodwill but also a number of design awards.
  • So now let’s focus on efficiency in the back-office. Even though our current library budget is quite impressive a huge portion of it is allocated to housing costs and as our university receives ever less governement funding we as a library are also faced with ever more substantial budget cuts. As a result there is increasingly less budget for staff available and that means that most of the elderly, experienced and qualified staff we are losing due to retirement can’t be replaced. But even though we have lesser staff available, we still have to cope with very substantial back-logs in our special collections area and there’s also still a considerable amount of cataloguing work involved in re-locating, re-shelving and de-selection of our physical collections. Furthermore in recent years the tasks of my department have also been getting more varied and more complex as we became more and more involved in new activities like repositories, e-readers, text and image databases and also in the cultural heritage metadating for manuscripts, letters, maps, prints, posters, photo’s and museum objects.
  • So faced with these problems our goals are simple. We want to do more work with less people and we want to add more value and enhance our services by focussing our energy primarily on the unique materials from our cultural heritage collections, be it physical, digitized or digital born. We will also focus on tasks that for the time being at least can’t be automated or outsourced, mainly activities related to our digital repositories and our own digital productions. Furthermore we hope to provide metadata in ways that will improve the user experience and we will speed up processes in order to make material available for our customers at the earliest possible moment. And last but not least by being more efficient we will also be able to spend more energy on reducing our existing back-log.
  • So as we needed to increase efficiency, what did we do? First of all we decided to opt for a new ILS. In 2008 we started a European tender and selected a new system, Aleph from Ex Libris, which we implemented in august 2009. Alongside this ILS-project we decided to adopt and implement international (metadata) standards. So after converting our Pica database, we started cataloguing locally in MARC21, adhering to the AACR2 rules, in the summer of 2009. Although we had been using approval plans and slip orders on a modest scale for years, only now were we able to start importing vendor records into our own local database. Therefore in 2010 we conducted a pilot and uploaded MARC records for the Cambridge Histories Online and Safari e-packages in our local catalogue. This year we will not only add more package titles, but we also hope to get MARC records for our regular acquisitions from our main vendors. Finally we will also be able to experiment with shelf-ready delivery as we have just opted to replace our forty something different shelving systems by the Library of Congress Classification (LCC). During this whole process - needless to say - there has been a constant need to upgrade staff knowledge and (language) skills so we have organised all kinds of training sessions and we will certainly continue to do so in future. (lifelong learning)
  • As I have said earlier we have felt a strong need for international metadata standards from the very beginning. Not only because that would allow us to import records from third parties, but also because it would provide us with a format and rules to catalogue all kinds of different materials from our heterogeneous collection. Furthermore it would make us part of international developments and the international cataloguing and metadata community as well as provide us with practical tools like mappings, helpdesks, toolkits, workflows etc. etc. So ever since 2007, when we attended a MARC conference here in Frankfurt, we have been campaigning nationally for the acceptance of international standards and in the summer of 2009 we ourselves started cataloguing locally using MARC21 and AACR2.
  • In that same period we also started using other international standards like Dublin Core, Encoded Archival Description, Arts and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT), Library of Congress Classification and Library of Congress Subject Headings. STCN = Short Title Catalogue Netherlands TEI = Text Encoding Initiative DACS = the Distributed Access Control System / Authentication + Authorization CCO = Cataloging Cultural Objects (VRA) ISAD(G) = General International Standard Archival Description MODS = Metadata Object Description Schema (LoC) DIDL = Digital Item Declaration Language
  • During this process of migrating to more efficient workflows we learned some valuable lessons which I have here tried to summarize in some do’s and don’ts. So not only do we think that as a research library and cultural heritage institution we should focus on international standards and (innovative) metadata developments, we are also convinced that we should adhere to international standards ‘as is’ in order to make maximum use of all existing functionality, tools, guidelines, workflows, mappings etc.….
  • And as we don’t want to spend too much money and we don’t want to loose valuable time or create unneccessary confusion we have decided not to translate formats or rules and regulations and for much the same reasons we strive to reduce all conversion activities to an absolute minimum. We also strongly believe that as the metadata universe around is growing and getting more complex and interlinked, it is vital to have one department within the organization responsible for the acquisition and metadata of both the fysical and digital collections.
  • In this changing world it is also very important to start hiring people with another, more technical profile than the traditional cataloguer in order to be able to import, export, re-use and link metadata to the max. Finally we think that as you start to think and act globally you have to be willing to ‘sacrifice some quality’ for the greater good. Even though this might mean some loss of functionality.
  • So in recent years we have already realised a number of our goals, but now we have entered a new phase in which we will experiment with direct participation in WorldCat using the Connexion client. As a kick-off we held a workshop last november in Amsterdam discussing WorldCat & Connexion functionality and efficiencies with Daniel van Spanje and David Whitehair from OCLC and Daniel Starr from the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. At this workshop colleagues from the University Libraries of Leiden and Utrecht, who share our international focus, were also present. As a result of this workshop my library has decided to start experimenting with direct cataloguing in WorldCat. So this month we will start a pilot which will hopefully result in a direct participation in WorldCat later this year.
  • Right now we already have a connection to WorldCat but that only enables us to copy bib records into our own local system. All further formal connection still runs via the GGC and is very complex requiring bi-lateral synchronisation and updating. N.B. specific data = library symbols, LCC, LCSH, DDC and…?
  • During our pilot however we will try to work out the best way to connect our local Aleph database directly to WorldCat either via SRU or via Z39.50, using Connexion as our cataloguing client and then in future hopefully we can contribute our bib records and holdings to the national union catalogue through WorldCat.
  • During this pilot we will also try to adress a number of issues that need solving like what to do with our various Dutch authority files, how to create the most efficient workflows and how to synchronize between WorldCat, Aleph and the GGC.
  • But as I told you earlier Amsterdam is willing to adjust to international standards ‘as is’ and so we are confident that we will be able to find acceptable solutions for these issues and that we will soon be able to make optimal use of all added WorldCat functionality like Collection Sets which will give us access to large pre-packaged sets of MARC records for vendor materials ensuring ongoing record delivery and updates but we are also interested in functionality like WorldCat Selection and Collection Analysis which may in future further enhance our efficiency. So that’s it for my update on the current situation in Amsterdam and now let’s have a brief look at the broader Dutch perspective.
  • Within the Dutch university library community as a whole there is still a lively debate going on concerning international (metadata) standards and the Dutch information infrastructure as a whole and as we have had a high quality union catalogue and infrastructure for many years, with our own ISBD-based formats, rules and regulations, there is of necessity a great reluctance to change all that. So until quite recently most Dutch university libraries, including the Dutch Royal Library as far as traditional cataloguing is concerned: still focussed mainly on the national union catalogue (GGC), the national infra-structure, national rules and formats and the national authority files… they saw no urgent need to adopt international cataloguing standards (MARC21 etc.), other than as an exchange format and they still had a strong tendency to adjust international systems and standards to local Dutch customs and traditions (MARC21/Ned)
  • But fortunately two weeks ago the Dutch University librarians decided to speed up the process. Setting aside their initial reluctance they agreed to start implementing MARC21 as an exchange format at the earliest possible moment and as a second step to investigate how the Dutch (research) libraries will be able to migrate to MARC21/AACR2 as a cataloguing format instead of investigating if or why we should migrate at all.
  • So although until quite recently there was no denying the difference in outlook between Amsterdam and the Dutch library community at large, there has been substantial progress and as far as Amsterdam is concerned we hope that the end result of the current national debate will be: a general implementation of international (metadata) standards a collective Dutch migration to WorldCat with, if necessary a special WorldCat ‘view’ or subset for specific Dutch purposes such as Inter Library Loan or the Dutch National Bibliography and last but not least we do hope to get our Dutch peronal names authority file and maybe some other authority files integrated or incorporated in WorldCat and Connexion and in future linked through for instance VIAF with other authority files. So ladies and gentlemen thank you for your attention and as a closing remark I would like to point out that regardless of the outcome of any further Dutch deliberations my library has already decided to adhere to international standards and to move to WorldCat as soon as possible, as we are firmly convinced of all the added advantages and more efficient workflows this will bring us. Hopefully the results of our pilot will also convince our Dutch colleagues.
  • Emea, March 2011

    1. 1. Looking for more efficient workflows the Amsterdam experience University Library
    2. 2. <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the University of Amsterdam </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the University Library </li></ul></ul><ul><li>More efficient workflows in Amsterdam </li></ul><ul><ul><li>current situation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>goals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>roadmap </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>international standards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>do’s and don’ts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>future </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Dutch perspective </li></ul>
    3. 3. University – facts & figures <ul><li>one of the larger comprehensive universities in Europe </li></ul><ul><li>member of the League of European Research Universities </li></ul><ul><li>rich history (1632 - Athenaeum Illustre) </li></ul><ul><li>> 30.000 students </li></ul><ul><li>> 5.000 staff </li></ul><ul><li>± 250 study programs </li></ul><ul><li>scientific output: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>381 PhDs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>7.900 scientific publications </li></ul></ul><ul><li>annual budget ± 600 million euro </li></ul><ul><li>                                 </li></ul>
    4. 4. University Library - facts & figures <ul><li>largest Dutch (physical) collection </li></ul><ul><ul><li>books: > 4 million </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>journals: 145.000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>e-journals: 22.000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>e-resources: 274.000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>manuscripts: 70.000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>letters: 500.000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>maps: 125.000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>museum objects: 109.000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>prints, posters & photo’s: > 20.000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>> 1. 000 specialised collections and archives a.o. b ook history, cartography, Jewish culture, religious and zoological collections, cookery books and comics </li></ul></ul><ul><li>183 fte (221 staff) </li></ul><ul><li>annual budget 35,3 million euro </li></ul>
    5. 5. Special Collections
    6. 6. Archeological Museum & University Museum
    7. 7. University Library - mission <ul><li>state-of-the-art library services </li></ul><ul><li>service oriented </li></ul><ul><li>innovative </li></ul><ul><li>reliable caretaker of cultural heritage </li></ul>
    8. 8. Front-office efficiency / RFID & self checkout
    9. 9. Back-office efficiency / current situation Less money Less staff Large back-logs New tasks / more complex tasks
    10. 10. Back-office efficiency / goals <ul><li>do more with less people </li></ul><ul><li>add more value and enhance services by focussing on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>unique materials (special collections etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>unique tasks (repositories, digital publications etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>improved user experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>timely delivery </li></ul></ul><ul><li>reduce existing back-log substantially </li></ul>
    11. 11. Back-office efficiency / roadmap <ul><li>1: select and implement a new ILS (2008-2009) </li></ul><ul><li>2: adopt and implement international (metadata) standards (2009) </li></ul><ul><li>3: convert existing database (2008-2009) </li></ul><ul><li>4: outsource tasks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>approval plans /slip orders (2002-....) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>import (and export) metadata in local ILS (2010-....) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>shelf-ready publications (2011-....) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>5: focus on external platforms and services (2010-....) </li></ul><ul><li>6: upgrade staff knowledge and (language) skills (2007-....) </li></ul>
    12. 12. Back-office efficiency / international standards Dutch ISBD based cataloguing rules Since 2007 Amsterdam campaigns for nation wide acceptance of international (metadata) standards In 2009 Amsterdam migrated to a new ILS and started cataloguing locally using MARC21 and AACR2
    13. 13. Back-office efficiency / international standards <ul><li>data structure: MARC21, Dublin Core, TEI, EAD </li></ul><ul><li>content standards: AACR2, DACS, CCO, ISAD(G) </li></ul><ul><li>authority files: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dutch: GOO, NBC, STCN (printers) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>International: AAT, LCC, LCSH </li></ul></ul><ul><li>exchange formats: MARC21, MARCXML, MODS, DIDL </li></ul>
    14. 14. Back-office efficiency / do’s and don’ts <ul><li>focus on international standards and (innovative) metadata developments </li></ul><ul><li>adhere to international standards ‘as is’ </li></ul><ul><li>make maximum use of existing functionality, tools, guidelines, workflows, mappings…. </li></ul>
    15. 15. Back-office efficiency / do’s and don’ts <ul><li>don’t translate </li></ul><ul><li>reduce conversion activities to a minimum </li></ul><ul><li>make one department responsible for the acquisition and metadata of both physical and digital collections </li></ul><ul><li>focus on other (related) metadata standards, linked data… </li></ul>Source: Seeing Standards by Jenn Riley, Indiana University, 2009-2010
    16. 16. Back-office efficiency / do’s and don’ts <ul><li>hire metadata librarians instead of cataloguers </li></ul><ul><li>import, export, re-use and link metadata to the max </li></ul><ul><li>be willing to ‘sacrifice some quality’ for the greater good </li></ul><ul><li>think and act global, instead of local and/or national </li></ul>
    17. 17. Back-office efficiency / the future <ul><li>November 2010: workshop </li></ul><ul><li>WorldCat & Connexion </li></ul><ul><li>March-April 2011: pilot cataloguing </li></ul><ul><li>in WorldCat using Connexion </li></ul><ul><li>2nd half 2011: cataloguing in WorldCat using Connexion </li></ul>
    18. 18. Back-office efficiency / the future GGC / NCC Union Catalogue ALEPH Local Catalogue Z39.50 authority & bib records daily upload (new) bib records FTP WorldCat bib records Z39.50 bib records & specific data 2-way SRU
    19. 19. Back-office efficiency / the future GGC / NCC Union Catalogue ALEPH Local Catalogue WorldCat Connexion bib records & holdings 2-way SRU 2-way SRU or Z39.50?
    20. 20. Back-office efficiency / the future <ul><li>some WorldCat / Connexion issues: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dutch authority files </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(personal) names </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>researcher (author) identifiers (DAI) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>keywords (GTT) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>classification (BC) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>most efficient workflows </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>synchronization WorldCat - local Aleph system </li></ul></ul>
    21. 21. Back-office efficiency / the future <ul><li>additional services / functionality: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>WorldCat Collection Sets: pre-packaged sets of MARC records for vendor materials with ongoing record delivery and updates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WorldCat Collection Analysis: collection evaluation, comparison and planning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WorldCat Selection: integrated, automated materials selection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>and more …. </li></ul></ul>
    22. 22. Back-office efficiency / the Netherlands <ul><li>a lively debate is going on concerning international (metadata) standards and the Dutch information infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>until quite recently most Dutch (university) libraries, including the Royal Library: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>still focussed mainly on the national union catalogue (GGC), the national infra-structure, national rules and formats and the national authority files… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>saw no need to adopt international cataloguing standards (MARC21), other than as an exchange format </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>had a strong tendency to adjust international systems and standards to local Dutch customs and traditions (MARC21/Ned) </li></ul></ul>
    23. 23. Back-office efficiency / the Netherlands <ul><li>recent developments: </li></ul><ul><li>two weeks ago the Dutch University Librarians decided to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Phase 1 implement MARC21 as an exchange format </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Phase 2 implement MARC21 as a cataloguing format </li></ul></ul>
    24. 24. Back-office efficiency / the Netherlands <ul><li>Amsterdam’s preferred outcome: </li></ul><ul><li>general implementation of international (metadata) standards </li></ul><ul><li>collective Dutch migration from GGC to WorldCat </li></ul><ul><li>WorldCat ‘view’ or subset for specific Dutch purposes (national bibliography, ILL etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>incorporation of the Dutch (personal) names authority file(s) & Dutch author identifiers (DAI) in WorldCat / Connexion (data linked through VIAF...) </li></ul>
    25. 25. <ul><li>THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION </li></ul>