International Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries

IATUL News Alerts

Archive July 2011

E-book Usage among Chemists, Biochemists and Biologists: Findings of a Survey and Interviews

Friday, 29 July 2011 2:28:20 p.m.

An e-book usage survey was sent through departmental mailing lists to the graduate students, scientists and faculty members of the Chemistry Department and Biology Department of Indiana University, Bloomington (IUB). Several faculty members, scientists and graduates students from the Chemistry Department and Biology Department were also contacted for interviews about their e-books usage experience. The purpose of the survey and interviews was to get a better understanding of users' e-book awareness, what advantages they find in using e-books, what concerns they have about e-book purchases and features, and what the library could do to better promote the use of e-book resources on campus.

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British Research Libraries Say No to ‘Big Deal’ Serials Packages

Friday, 29 July 2011 2:27:02 p.m.

As some U.S. research libraries back away from so-called Big Deals with journal publishers, a major British library group has also taken a stand against high serials prices. Late last year, Research Libraries UK announced that its members would not sign any more large deals with two of the biggest journal publishers, Elsevier and Wiley, unless they agreed to significant reductions in what those deals cost.

The association represents 30 of Britain’s major research libraries, including those of the Universities of Cambridge, of Edinburgh, of Oxford, of Warwick, and of Kings College London, as well as the British Library and the national libraries of Scotland and Wales. The group’s members have collective deals with publishers that are negotiated on their behalf by JISC Collections.
David C. Prosser, executive director of the association, said it is pushing for a reduction of 15 percent in the cost of Big Deals, and that it focused on Elsevier and Wiley because those contracts expire at the end of 2011. “It was a slow and gradual realization” that they had grown too expensive, he said. “There are many benefits to the library community of the Big Deals. So for quite a while, those benefits were outweighing the major concerns.”
But like their counterparts in the United States, British research libraries have endured financial strains lately. In Britain that included not only the global recession and a major reorganization of higher-education financing but a crash in the value of sterling in 2008. Mr. Prosser said that hurt libraries in Britain because they pay most of the larger publishers in euros or dollars, not in sterling.

“So we lost hundreds of thousands of pounds of buying power overnight,” he said. “That was the point at which people began saying, ‘We’re tied into things over which we don’t have a lot of control.’”
According to Mr. Prosser, Elsevier and Wiley have both proposed deals with new terms, but neither comes close to satisfying the group’s conditions. “We are having to reconcile ourselves to the fact that we may not be able to reach a deal,” he said.

With that prospect in mind, the group has been working to get support from various constituencies within academe, including university administrators as well as faculty members and students. It has also been talking to other publishers, especially scholarly societies, to make it clear “that this is in no way an antipublisher move” but an attempt to support “a healthy publisher economy,” Mr. Prosser said. “We’re trying to get a better deal for the whole community, not just RLUK members.”

The association would still like to reach deals with Elsevier and Wiley—but only if the terms are right. Otherwise its members are prepared to make do with title-by-title subscriptions. “The types of agreements we’ve entered into are not sustainable in the current environment,” Mr. Prosser said.

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ARL Profiles: Research Libraries 2010

Friday, 29 July 2011 2:25:28 p.m.

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has captured the essence of the research library in contextual and innovative ways with the publication of ARL Profiles: Research Libraries 2010, a report that includes a thorough content analysis of narrative descriptions of research libraries at the end of the first decade of the 21st century. The profile analysis has engaged qualitative methods to describe research libraries that complement the annual quantitative ARL Statistics®.

The contextual information provided in this report documents the importance of the public good research libraries provide in an increasingly globalized environment by making their services more readily available; they are becoming an integral part not only of the physical but also the virtual academic experience in addition to setting standards and exploring best practices with national and international visibility, among other things.
When ARL directors were interviewed in 2005 and asked to describe a research library in the 21st century, there was general sentiment that the annual ARL Statistics® and the toolkit of assessment services developed by ARL, though useful, were not adequate to provide important contextual information on the transformation of research libraries. ARL Profiles: Research Libraries 2010 documents in an evidence-based manner the changing environment and fills in this gap. Textual narrative descriptions of collections, services, collaborative relations, and other programs, as well as physical spaces, capture the essence of a research library today and demonstrate the value delivered to library users.

Between 2008 and 2010, ARL member libraries submitted narrative profiles that offer an alternative way of describing research libraries. These narratives stand alone as important descriptive information of the state of research libraries at the dawn of the 21st century. The profiles allowed for a creative approach with a focus on critical qualitative categories emphasizing institutional and research library community—level aspects of (a) services, (b) collections, and (c) collaborative relations. Our sincere thanks go to all of the institutions that contributed to this groundbreaking collaborative effort to describe the value of research libraries in new, meaningfully rich ways in the midst of a rapidly changing environment.

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Life Science Data Repositories in the Publications of Scientists and Librarians

Friday, 29 July 2011 2:24:00 p.m.

Bibliographic analysis of the sciences literature indicates that several data repositories are used by science practitioners in their research publications, conference presentations and patents. These specialized resources offer data storage, search, visualization, and sharing capabilities to the science communities of which they are a part. Some science librarians also use data repositories in their publications and in the performance of their professional duties. As the need for established data archives continues to grow, both existing and future data repositories present potential opportunities for the data-related work of science librarians.

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Friday, 29 July 2011 2:22:43 p.m.

The MyMobileBristol Project is managed and developed by the Web Futures group at the Institute for Learning and Research Technology (ILRT), University of Bristol. The project has a number of broad and ambitious aims and objectives, including collaboration with Bristol City Council on the development or adoption of standards with regard to the exchange of time- and location-sensitive data within the Bristol region, with particular emphasis on transport, the environment and sustainability. The project also pilots a mobile Web application within the University of Bristol that provides access to data within an 'on-the-move' context via a smartphone. The pilot benefits the University by providing a beta service that provides an opportunity for stakeholder analysis with staff and students, thus helping inform the development of our mobile strategy. This article describes the background to the inception of the project, the process and output of stakeholder engagement, outlines the software developed and highlights some of the opportunities and challenges we have faced in creating a platform that delivers content for mobile devices.

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Digital Librarianship & Social Media: the Digital Library as Conversation Facilitator

Friday, 29 July 2011 2:21:33 p.m.

Digital collections marketing is an important, yet often ignored aspect of digital collection management. While many collections are laudable for the quality of their pictures, metadata, and preservation techniques, they often remain obscure, unknown, and therefore inaccessible to their intended user populations. One of the ways digital librarians can cultivate a broader awareness of their collections is through social networking. More importantly, digital librarians who participate in conversations with users through the use of social media become inextricably intertwined with the knowledge creation processes relevant to their collections. This paper presents a set of five general principles (listening, participation, transparency, policy, and strategy) that provide digital librarians with straightforward, concrete strategies for successfully integrating social media into a digital library's overall strategic plan. In addition to these concrete strategies, I also explain the theoretical importance of each principle and its relevance for establishing a rapport with current and potential users of a digital collection.

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Supporting Research: Environments, Administration and Libraries

Friday, 29 July 2011 2:19:52 p.m.

This report highlights the findings from two parallel studies of research support services in US and UK universities that OCLC Research and the UK's Research Information Network (RIN) undertook last year.

It is the latest in a series of OCLC Research reports resulting from our Research Information Management thematic focus of work, the goal of which is to help reach a collective understanding of the responsibilities of, and opportunities for, libraries in a changed research environment.

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