The end of eresourcejournal

At the end of the month, I will begin my new job at Norwich University as their Distance Learning Librarian. I am very excited about this position because I’ve wanted to work with distance learning students since the not-so-long-ago days of my own online graduate program. This is my dream job.

And so, eresourcejournal reaches its end. This blog has been more helpful to me than I expected. The process of writing about things that puzzle and frustrate me has been beneficial. First, it makes me think things through. My brain works faster than my fingers, and as I type my mind wanders to another (more appropriate) idea. Had I not taken the time to write about these topics, I may not have come to those more useful conclusions.

In addition, writing is a great memory tool. Writing online with blog software allowed me to easily retrace my steps and remind myself of past discoveries. In some cases, I was able to solve a new problem by looking back at similar situations.

Lastly, blogging connects: the advantage of writing publicly and online is that other people found me. I am grateful for the comments and emails I’ve received from everyone who visits the site or reads the RSS feed. Librarians have been a source of (wonderful) ideas, commiseration, and camaraderie. EBSCO folks have been very generous with their time, emailing me directly about the concerns and ideas I’ve covered in my posts.

Perhaps others will continue to discover these posts and find them useful. Clearly, they’ll be curious about troubleshooting electronic serials problems, as illustrated in this nifty word cloud of all the text at eresourcejournal (made at Wordle.net). I don’t know yet whether I will blog about my new job. As I re-read that sentence, I realize I likely will. I want to remain connected to my community of colleagues. I have been and will continue to follow blogs related to distance learning and distance learning librarianship. I’m sure I’ll have a few things to talk about, too.

Thank you for your visits and keeping me in your feed readers. Most of all, thank you for your comments.

(P.S. It’s a time of transition: Kelly retired one of her blogs this week. Great minds think alike!)

(P.P.S. It seems like a good idea to close the comments on all my old posts. So I’m gonna. I’ll keep this post open, so feel free to leave a message.)

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Workflow roundtable at ER&L

Elizabeth Winter, moderator of the workflow roundtable on Friday, wrote about our discussion on the ER&L Forum blog. There are two posts, one with general notes, and one listing the technologies we use in e-resource management.

She encourages participants to use the forum space to continue the conversation. That was the nice thing about the conference Moodle last year: it was a good place to keep the discussion going, but unfortunately was underused.

Elizabeth made a good point: it would have been nice to have sign-up sheets at the end of the session so that interested participants can keep in contact after the conference. As it were, she emailed the people she remembered were there. I imagine that other folks might subscribe to the ER&L blog, like I do, and may learn about it that way.

I spoke briefly with a few participants on our way out (it was the very last session on the very last day), exchanged business cards, and invited people to check out this blog. If you are one of those people I met, welcome! Look around and leave comments. Chat with me in the box to the right. I look forward to talking with you!

ER&L Friday

What I ended up attending, Friday edition:

The roundtable topics were determined by two kinds of participant feedback: evaluations at the original sessions and the results of the ER&L Thought Cloud, where participants suggested and voted on topics they wanted to discuss.

The closing speaker, Tom Wilson (University of Alabama), briefly made a point about Google that I really liked, and that led to discussion afterwards. He pointed out that Google is not a federated search engine: it uses relevancy ranking (maybe well, maybe not well) and federated searches can’t. Federated search engines are, by nature, multiple databases, and can’t apply relevancy like Google can with its single database. I had never thought through to that point, and I think it’ll be on my mind for the plane ride home. (3/23/08: I will contact Tom Wilson about his remarks to make sure I haven’t completely misinterpreted the relevancy point.)

The roundtable about workflow could have been a conference in itself: different libraries (formally) present their situations, challenges, and successes, followed by discussion.

photo of me on Friday @ ER&L 2008It may look like I’m throwing scissors, but I’m really talking about workflow.

ER&L Thursday

What I ended up attending, Thursday edition:

The LibGuides session was very well done. The librarians shared their subject and class guides before and after LibGuides, and the capabilities of the product are exciting. I really like the use of LibGuides at Scottsdale Community College: their library website is a LibGuides page.

Now I’m going to attempt to be in two places at once. Fortunately, User-Centered Tech Support of E-Resources and The Inexorable March to Online Only are next door to each other. Both are highly relevant to my work: we evaluated our organizational structure, and, although we’ve switched a great deal of our subscriptions to online, we could improve our criteria and approach. Fortunately, both presentations are very detailed and I can pick up a lot from the slides.

(It’s very flattering that Pat and Kelly cite my Library Student Journal article in their presentation.)

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ER&L Wednesday

Karen Coyle gave a very interesting keynote this morning that she called “There’s no catalog like no catalog.” She showed the familiar statistic that shows students don’t start library research at the library. Maybe that’s OK, maybe it isn’t, she said. Our information is useful, but we need to put it out on the web where users are. Our catalogs are rich with information if we know how to pull out that information and interpret it. She showed WorldCat Identities, which I hadn’t seen before, and is a really good example of how strong our catalog is when information is combined and viewed together.

A point Coyle made that I really liked (and I hope my paraphrasing is accurate) was that it’s no longer about having the most perfect catalog record, but that our catalog record connects out to other resources and enhances their information.

What I ended up attending, Wednesday edition:

Participants received a flash drive loaded with the conference proceedings, but not all presentations were included. I imagine that may have been due to time constraints and that the missing presentations will later be included on the conference website.

photo of Chandra, Pamela, and me @ ER&L 2008Chandra, Pamela, and me

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ER&L Conference

I’m all set to go to the ER&L Conference in March. Last year I was an online participant, and I think I’ll get more out of the conference by attending in person.

It will be a challenge to decide which sessions to attend. Many interesting programs are scheduled at the same time, so I’ll catch up with some of it online. My plan so far:

Wednesday, March 19

Thursday, March 20

Friday, March 21

My job responsibilities do not currently involve usage statistics or e-books; while I’m not inclined to attend those sessions in person, I might vary my plan a bit to include some of those talks.

I hope to see some of you in Atlanta!

More about ER&L: Registration fees, general schedule, detailed schedule (pdf), session abstracts

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Licenses

I’m still plugging away at listening to the presentations from this year’s ER&L conference (I “attended” as an online participant), and I’ve heard another great idea: save completed licenses as pdf documents. In a sense I’ve been doing this ever since I learned that the Dean’s office copier can send a pdf to my email address, but I’ve just been forwarding the pdf to the publisher (an immensely helpful alternative to international faxing, plus how often do 19-page faxes go through completely on the first try?).

I imagine this is a feature of many ERMs. Perhaps someday we’ll incorporate it into our practices as well.

I’ve been making my way through the CLIR case studies on library workflow redesign, and I was intrigued that the Tri-College Consortium developed a “license for electronic resources purchased by [their] libraries… [so] the colleges would no longer be governed by the terms set by the publisher.” I wonder how that goes down with the publishers (it sounds familiar, too*).

One of my superiors reviews licenses before the dean signs them, and I’ve noticed how frequently he has to contact the publisher to amend the language. Wouldn’t it be great to be on the other side of the table, saying “Here, sign this”?

Update 3/8/07: Found an article in JERDA today about the Ontario Consortium of University Libraries’ development of a model license. Is this more common for consortiums than individual libraries?

Update 6/25/07: On the other end of the spectrum, NISO’s Shared E-Resource Understanding (SERU) looks to streamline licensing and “create a new approach that involves lower overhead“. I learned about this at the NASIG conference.

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