ALCTS Directors of Technical Services of Large Research Libraries
Sheraton Centre Hotel - Centre Ballroom
Recorded by Judith
Hopkins, University at
For the text of the Round Robin on issues of concern to
these institutions, which was distributed via the Big Heads
electronic discussion list in the weeks prior to the
Nominations/Election of Chair Elect
(Brian Schottlaender, UC
Big Heads Task Group: Arno Kastner, Lee Leighton, Joan Swanekamp
(Glenn Patton, OCLC)
11:00 am Break
(Karen Calhoun, Cornell )[This item was given AFTER Tim Jewell's report]
LOCKSS participants discussion
8. Items for Midwinter 2004 agenda [There was no time for this item]
Present: Bob Wolven
Karen Calhoun (Cornell) Cindy Shelton (UCLA)
Nancy Gibbs (Duke) Judith Nadler
Lynda S. Kresge
German (U of
Phelix Hanible (U of
Sally Sinn (NAL) Barbara Stelmasik
Duane Arenales (NLM) Beth Picknally Camden (U of Va)
Cynthia Clark (NYPL) Joyce Ogburn (U of
Arno Kastner (NYU)
Carol Pitts Diedrichs (OSU)
Rebecca Mugridge (
Katharine T. Farrell (
Guests: Tim Jewell (
Sally A. Rogers (OSU) Brian Schottlaender (UC-SD)
Nominations/Election of Chair Elect
Bob Wolven (
Sally Sinn (NAL; outgoing Chair) thanked Arno Kastner for his efforts as Vice-Chair.
Brian noted that when Big Heads heard the last update on the Collection Management Initiative six months ago (see http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~ulcjh/bh12003min.html) the Initiative was on the verge of starting its 2nd phase: a qualitative survey of user preferences. They are now having talks with College and Research Libraries to publish the findings of that survey.
In the 1st phase the Initiative analyzed the use of some 300 electronic titles which had been portioned among 4 categories: Arts and Humanities (22 titles), Life and Health Sciences (130 titles), Physical Sciences and Engineering (102 titles); and Social Sciences (26 titles). The titles had good representation across 12 publishers. For each title one campus (experimental) sent all print copies of the title to storage while another campus (control) kept the print and monitored physical use through reshelving counts. Conclusions: while use of print journals was higher on the control campuses (6,044 uses) than on the experimental ones (201 requests to recall print from storage), on both types of campuses digital use was much greater than use of print versions (160,180 uses on experimental campuses and 97,493 uses on control campuses). They also studied journal use at campuses prior to the start of the study and found that use of electronic journals on the experimental campuses had already been high.
The 2d phase consisted of a 2 month’s survey of 20,000 faculty, staff and students. They got more than 7000 responses for a response rate of over 30 per cent. 54% of the respondents were graduate students, 23 % were faculty; the remainder were health care professionals, researchers and post-docs, undergraduates, and University of California staff and a few miscellaneous.
Both faculty and the total respondents said research needed both electronic and print journals; however, more said their research was dependent on the availability of electronic versions than the number who depended on print. The frequency of electronic use was lowest for the Arts and Humanities users but even so, 40% of them had used an electronic journal within the previous week.
Fewer than 20% of the respondents agreed with the statement that print was more reliable (defined as available when wanted); while over 70 % of faculty (and 80% of total respondents) agreed that e-journals are a suitable alternative to print. Over 80% of the total respondents agreed with the statement that electronic journals were accessible.
Almost half of all respondents (and one-third of the faculty) liked electronic journals for browsing current issues. Nearly 50 % of faculty liked e-journals to keep current in and out of their fields; they also liked e-journals for comparing and contrasting articles. However, use of e-journals in course assignments was less than 50%. Respondents from the Arts and Humanities were least likely to use e-journals in course assignments.
Among the advantages given for electronic journals were that there was no need to go to the library for them and that they were always available (over 90% of all respondents).
Among the “availability of content” barriers to electronic journal use was unavailability of older issues (given by 90% of all respondents) and of recent issues (over 50% of all respondents). In terms of “ease of use” reading on screen was considered a barrier by almost 70% of respondents (over 70% of faculty). Other “ease of use” barriers were annotation limitations (many of the respondents didn’t know how to annotate or highlight electronic text), difficulty of moving between sections of articles, etc. There were also “computing equipment” barriers related to such things as authentication of off-campus users, speed of home Internet connections, etc.
Faculty were more likely than other respondents to admit that deficiencies in their own computer skills were a barrier to use (almost 40% vs. about 25% of all respondents).
Summary: the unavailability of backfiles was considered the greatest barrier to use of electronic journals.
The demographic variables differed in degree, not kind. The strongest variable was affiliation (defined as whether you were a student (either graduate or undergraduate) or faculty (including health science professionals and post-docs)), which was followed by discipline, age, gender, and campus. One’s affiliation had a significant effect on how one answered 67 questions, while discipline mattered for only 37 questions.
Calhoun (Cornell) asked how decisions based on the Initiative’s findings
will be made; Brian said that the
individual campuses will use the findings as they deem appropriate. The
Judi Nadler (
Bob Wolven (
Big Heads Task Group: Arno Kastner, Lee Leighton, Joan Swanekamp
(Glenn Patton, OCLC)
Lee Leighton (
Mixed materials – 8 libraries
Computer files - 4 libraries
Serials - 5 libraries
Non-books - 1 library
Government documents – 1 library
E-resources - 1 library
Wade/Giles transliterations – 1 library
Original cataloging – 1 library
PCC records - 1 library
Still another problem identified in the survey was the fact that only LC and NLM send batches of records in format-specific loads, all other libraries mix formats in a single load. Another type of problem identified at the Midwinter 2003 Big Heads meeting was ‘group loading’, where an institution sends a file of records that includes more than one OCLC holdings symbol.
After e-mail discussion of the Task Group report in April
2003 the Task Group had been charged to draft a letter to OCLC raising the Big
Heads’ concerns about the records in the excluded and unsuccessfully loaded
categories. The letter explicitly noted
the 600,000 retrospective conversion records from the
Glenn Patton then gave the OCLC response to the Task Group’s letter and report. He started with some general comments about OCLC’s batchloading policies and then commented specifically about several of the points in the report. [I have quoted liberally from the written version of Glenn Patton’s response. JH]
OCLC’s batchloading policies: General comments
Service level agreements: “OCLC has service-level agreements with its Regional Service Providers to set expectations about services which OCLC provides. In the case of Batchloading, OCLC’s commitment is to complete the evaluation and setup processes for new batchload projects within 90 days and, once a project becomes an ongoing one, to process newly received files within 7 days. Over the 18 month period from July 2001 through January 2003, OCLC completed 258 new setups with an average turnaround time of 56 days. During that same period, average turnaround time for processing new files for existing setups was 1 day with an average of between 600 and 700 files per month.”
Adding holdings versus adding original records:
“… Given the requirements of many of the large state-wide or regional projects that we work on, we have had to give a greater emphasis to adding holdings [to existing records over adding original records]. In addition, [he noted that] it’s important to understand that batchloading institutions are not automatically set up to add records. That requires a separate evaluation process and is done only at the explicit request of the institution or the Regional Service Provider.”
Evaluation process for adding records:
“Files of original records to be considered for addition to WorldCat go through an evaluation process that is both more rigorous than the one used for records used to set holdings and much more time and labor intensive. The goal of the evaluation is to insure that the records are of sufficient quality and that the duplication rate is less than 20%. The ‘quality’ aspect is admittedly somewhat subjective but MARC validation is also an important part of the process in order that records added to WorldCat do not contain errors that other member libraries will be required to fix.”
“Frequently in the evaluation process, OCLC staff identify changes in the records that will improve our ability to process the records. Sometimes that involves updating MARC tagging and subfielding. In other cases, we may be able to supply coded data based on the content of the record. Over the years, we have developed a large repertoire of software modules that we can use in this cleanup. These modules are invoked as part of the setup each time we process a file from a particular institution. As an example, the setup used to add original records for one of the Big Head institutions involves some 40 separate modules. Some of these are from our repertoire but others are developed specifically for that institution.”
“… there is a wide variation in the level of MARCvalidation (are the fields, subfields and indicators valid, are fields with prescribed content correctly formed, etc.) in local systems. Over the years, OCLC staff have frequently heard that local systems depend on OCLC’s validation routines. That worked when the primary record flow was from OCLC into the local database but works less effectively as workflows have shifted in the other direction.”
Effects of local system migration:
“Another reality of batchloading is that MARC output is almost completely dependent on the capabilities of an institution’s local system and, when the institution migrates to a new local system, files must be evaluated again to insure that a library’s existing setup will still work when OCLC receives data output from the new local system.”
Comments on the specific problems resulting from the survey:
“Records for serials are indeed among the problem areas. Currently, OCLC adds serials records via Batchload in only a very few cases. The considerable variations in serials cataloging practice (including, for example, consolidating multiple physical format[s] into the record for the print, successive versus latest entry, etc.) make accurate matching very difficult. As a result, the risk of adding duplicate records is greater than we’re willing to tolerate.”
Other types of materials:
“OCLC currently does not have matching algorithms for computer files and for mixed materials. These are being worked on as part of current development activity to move batchloading processing into OCLC’s new Oracle-based platform. In addition, as part of that effort, we are attempting to develop the capability to load non-MARC records, which will be an important part of dealing with electronic resources in the future.”
“In addition, our ability to match accurately for various non-book formats is less effective than we would like.” [Glenn interjected that one reason is the lack of standard numbers for many of these materials.] “As part of the development work mentioned above, we have been experimenting with using additional matching points and that looks promising.”
“The report also mentions concerns with loading government documents and Wade-Giles transliterations. We were not aware of concerns in this area and would welcome the chance to explore these issues further with the institutions involved.”
“Until June 2002, OCLC was not able to process batchloaded PCC records correctly. At that time, we implemented software that allows PCC records to be separated from mixed files of records and processed through a separate job stream. We are currently processing PCC records for 4 of the Big Heads libraries with Batchload definitions in process for 2 more.”
Batchloading for Groups:
“Although OCLC does not set holdings for multi-institution groups, it is true that we have not been able to add original, non-matching records from these groups. [Glenn noted orally that often the 040 field is lacking in these records]. However, we are currently in the process of developing software to allow adding records for groups. The details of this should be forthcoming in the next couple of months.”
Separating large files by format or holdings:
OCLC was perplexed by that problem since they “routinely segment files by record type or holdings... . Please let us know if we misunderstood your concerns in this regard.”
Concerns of the
“OCLC is currently working with those libraries’ Networks to clarify and address their concerns.”
Sally Sinn (NAL) thanked the task group for their survey and summary report. She also expressed the Big Heads’ appreciation to Glenn Patton for coming and responding to its concerns, expressing the hope that this dialogue would lead to constructive action. She noted that OCLC’s response reveals that priorities for addressing our batchloading concerns are influenced by two types of considerations: technological solutions and OCLC policies as reflected in agreements with regional groups. The latter have favored setting holdings over adding unique records. The Big Heads believe that adding original records is a greater contribution than adding holdings. She asked if Glenn had any feeling about trends; i.e., whether there would continue to be an emphasis on adding holdings for interlibrary loan use over increasing the number of records representing unique titles in our collections. Glenn Patton (OCLC) said he saw something of a shift towards regional groups with an emphasis on resource sharing; now there was greater interest in showing the entire holdings of a group rather than facilitating the sharing of widely held materials.
On a positive note Judi Nadler commented that the University of Chicago had had thousands of records not loading: archival materials, recon, etc. After OCLC had studied the Task Force report, those records had been loaded. However, she tempered enthusiasm with caution, noting that this Task Force report was actually a follow-up to an earlier report. [2001 Big Heads Survey on Copy Acceptance Policies (Arno Kastner, Chair, Beacher Wiggins, Judi Nadler, Katherine Farrell, and Barbara Henigman). http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~ulcjh/bhmin062001.html#ITEM5 In light of the results of this survey it had been recommended to engage the utilities in the dialog on copy availability. http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~ulcjh/bhmin012002.html#ITEM6 ] She thought that the biggest problem was that OCLC did not bring to the attention of the sending library the records it was not able to load; instead, OCLC just put them in some local file. She also expressed concerns about the sustainability of the loading of unique materials in all formats.
Arno Kastner (NYU) said he was not clear about who makes adding holdings a higher priority over adding unique titles. Glenn Patton said that decision is often based on contractual agreement with regional groups. Merging, de-duping and adding records take more resources than does adding holdings. Sally Sinn (NAL) asked if that translated into favoring adding holdings over original titles; he said Yes.
Joan Swanekamp said thatYale still has a healthy cataloging staff and lots of their records are unique: maps, etc. She thought that resource sharing is furthered by adding unique materials rather than one additional holding to a record that already has many holdings.
Lee Leighton (
Carol Diedrichs (OSU) commented that she had learned as a
member of the OCLC Members Council that OCLC is trying to balance the needs of
different communities: they are hearing strongly from
Beth Picknally Camden (
[The agenda was changed at this point to present Tim Jewell’s report before Karen Calhoun’s]
Tim Jewell noted that Big Heads has been interested in this
topic for some years and has heard several reports on it. (Cf. http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~ulcjh/bhmin062002.html#ITEM5
for the most recent report.) Several
years ago in
Tim and Adam Chandler have created a web hub for Electronic Resources Management metadata which was last updated yesterday (June 19, 2003). Go to http://www.library.cornell.edu/cts/elicensestudy/home.html
In Spring 2002 an e-resources metadata standards workshop was held. (See http://www.library.cornell.edu/cts/elicensestudy/nisodlf/home.htm ) At the workshop they talked about problems and presented draft documents on such topics as descriptive metadata, licensing, and access and administration metadata.
Sally Sinn (NAL) asked about the relationship between the work of this group and portals such as SFX. Tim Jewell said their work deals with resources discovery and the portability of information about electronic resources to portals, gateways, etc.
Cindy Shelton said that UCLA has been developing its own homegrown management system and asked if he know of any vendor systems that might be available. Mr. Jewell said that Innovative Interfaces Inc would have a system in Beta testing within a month or so and that Ex Libris is looking to develop such a system.
The purpose of the Benchmarking analysis was to gather statistics on technical services staff size in those ARL libraries which are members of Big Heads: size, trends in technical services staff sizes, definitions of technical services, proportion of professional staff to non-professional, etc.
The percentage of technical services staff size to total staff ranged from a low of 11% to a high of 33% with an average of 23 %. The overwhelming impression is that the size of technical services staff is declining.
The proportion of professional staff size to non-professional staff ranged from 16% to 36 % with an average of 25%.
The responding libraries define technical services in various ways. There is a core cluster of activities included by all respondents: Cataloging, Serials control, Catalog maintenance, Retrospective Conversion, Metadata, and Physical processing. All but one library includes Acquisitions. Other activities included by some libraries as being part of technical services are: Electronic Resources (10 Y, 1 N), Gift and Exchanges (9 Y, 2 N), Binding (8 Y, 3 N), Preservation (6 Y, 5 N), and Stacks (1 Y, 10 N); the same library that did not include Acquisitions did include Electronic resources. Some respondents reported only data related to central technical services; others reported all technical services centers across a campus. Some included archivists, others did not.
Judi Nadler (
Joan Swanekamp (Yale) asked what kind of standards Karen had developed for counting decentralized technical services areas. Karen replied that in support of a library workforce planning initiative Cornell recently did a survey of all 453 library staff across the entire campus. If any other library wants to see the Cornell survey Karen would be happy to provide copies.
Duane Arenales (NLM) encouraged ARL to use some term other than Non-professional which many members of her staff find demeaning.
Joyce Ogburn (
Sally Sinn (NAL)
noted that some of the libraries represented at Big Heads are members of LOCKSS
[Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe, a model for creating low-cost, persistent
digital “caches” of authoritative versions of http-delivered content. Cf. http://lockss.stanford.edu/
] and asked what people are doing or intending to do with it. NAL is a participant
but hasn't yet resolved problems with getting the software to run on their
server because of firewall constraints. Bob
Wolven said that
Someone asked, “What do you mean by
‘archiving’”. Bob Wolven said that
Sally Sinn (NAL), on behalf of the Big Heads, bid farewell to Carol Diedrichs who is leaving OSU to become the Director of Libraries at the University of Kentucky; she also welcomed Sally Rogers who will be the new Ohio State University representative and Phelix Hanible, the new University of Michigan representative.
The meeting was adjourned at