Friday, 17 April 2015

Rick Anderson - A Quiet Culture War in Research Libraries (plenary session, 1st April 2015)

A quiet culture war in research libraries
Presented by Rick Anderson (University of Utah)

Rick started out the session by quietly admitted he’d be quite pleased if someone stomped out during his talk!  Sadly, he was not to be obliged on this front...

He was conscious of the fact that he gives away the ending of this talk via the title.  The culture war he believes is brewing is between 2 schools of thought: "libraries’ most fundamental mission is serving the scholarly need of the institution", vs. "libraries’ most fundamental mission is changing the world of scholarly communication for the better".  These missions are not mutually exclusive or in conflict in general, though they are in tension at every institution due to priorities, funding etc.  The conflict is mostly rooted in the migration from print to online, and are illustrated in movement from:

objects -> access
individual -> collective
institutional -> global
simple issues -> complex issues
toll access -> open access

The distribution system was accepted for what it was when it was dealing with physical objects, where the issues of distribution and access are not quite so complex.  Now the issues at play include access, costs, rights and funding.  At the same time, the demand for some of what we have seen as the core purposes of librarianship is dropping.

The big question is becoming: how do we balance our responsibility to the host institution (including local patrons and their needs) with our drive to work and interact globally? The time and money we spend are hours and budget we can’t spend on something else; he gave examples of Big Deals, OA program memberships, OA mandates, APC subventions, ILL vs. short-term loan etc.

He then showed a slide splitting librarians into ‘soldiers’ (working on local needs/impact) and ‘revolutionaries’ (working on global needs/impact), moving on to a matrix of librarian depth perception and the crossover between the revolutionaries and the soldiers.  At the surface: what is the library’s local-global balance now?  We have to then assess alignment (how does it fit our institution’s goals?); address disparity (by talking to those linke the provost/VP who have a say in goals etc.); and consider influencing the institutional mission/culture to reflect our own; if feasible, one can create a strategy for doing so; if not, one will need to realign library to fit with the institutional goals.

Rick's bottom line was that soldiers are employees, and revolutionaries are (usually) freelance; however, the immovable fact is that the university library is not freelance.  Therefore, clarifying what that means for all us and for the mission of librarians is absolutely imperative.

Daniel Mietchen - Wikimedia and Scholarly Publications (plenary session, 1st April 2015)

Wikimedia and scholarly publications
Presented by Daniel Mietchen (contractor, National Institutes of Health - Twitter @EvoMRI)

At the start, Daniel pointed out that this talk is interactive and can be edited like everything else on Wikipedia (he gave us the mobile link to see it most easily):
Please feel free to consult that page while reading my further notes.  Daniel then showed us his 'trailer' on the openness of references cited in Wikipedia.  This brought up the topics of re-use, deep linking and tracking citations.

Everyone in the room may have an idea of scholarly communications. Wikimedia has many meanings and manifestations, but in effect Wikimedia doesn't really exist.  The Wikimedia community cares about projects; the Wikimedia foundation keeps the projects going; then there is the suite of Wikimedia projects itself - more than 1000 wikis or communities structured by main interest, language, etc.

What is the interaction between Wikimedia and publishing?  Many Wikimedia projects deal with publishing, though some are quite small and not really relevant to most of us - some useful projects and categories are linked from the Wikipedia page above. There are also Wikimedians in residence at libraries and museums, such as Ally Crockford who is currently employed at the National Library of Scotland.

Daniel is most active in Wikimedia and Open Access.  On his Wikipedia page above, you will find links to useful articles and information on worldwide policies, including the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. Open access policy on Wikipedia has many differences to typical OA policies by covering not just publications but also associated data, software and multimedia.  It stresses the importance of open licensing, and is itself under open licence.  Licencing is key throughout, though it avoids embargo periods and also allows for limited exceptions.

He pointed out that it is really important to discuss citations in this changing scholarly climate.  He talked about how to cite items like journals in Wikimedia - he links to a Cite-o-Meter for quite a few different types of citations, including those to Wikimedia Commons.  Publishers like CrossRef are also linking back to Wikimedia updates and citations for their journals.

He moved on to the issue of reuse of materials between journals and wiki, giving the example of the Open Access Media Importer - this was initially used just for text but is now moving on to video and audio and deep linking.  This ease of reuse can give a new lease of life to scholarly information.  However, this means that it is easy to propagate misuse; for example, the issue of Springer's misappropriation of Wikimedia content (examples of which he cited) is just “the tip of the iceberg”.

He discussed the role of repositories in this climate.  For example, JATS is the de-facto standard for exchanging journal article content in a machine-readable fashion, used for articles ingested into PubMed Central.  Many publishers not working with PubMed Central are also moving to this standard.  However, there is a problem of inconsistent XML which is a barrier to the reuse of open access content; JATS4R is trying to address this, thus improving the reusability of JATS.

Lastly, he moved through his group of visualisations from his webpage, but didn't show his last video as is tradition at this conferenceThis approaches how scholars can share research with the world as soon as it is recorded, in a way that is integrated with research workflows rather than added on top of them - which he also imagine in a scholarly world with open licenses and public version histories as the default setting.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Open data (and what it means for librarians) at UKSG

It didn’t take long for data, the lifeblood of research, to enter the conversation at UKSG. The future of data management and publication was raised early and often by both delegates and speakers.

The first morning, Geoffrey Boulton of the University of Edinburgh and chair of the Royal Society working group Science As An Open Enterprise made a convincing case for the importance of open data. Boulton reminded the assembled audience that laying open proof of your experiments has been a tenet of the foundations of research since the 1800s, but that in recent years this has exploded. Boulton published a paper in Nature in the 1980s which presented just seven data points behind glaciological theory; nowadays a paper is just as likely to have millions of data points sitting behind it.

Boulton posited that big data, and data modelling offers huge opportunities to academics, but that to capitalise on these opportunities properly we need a system of sharing. Often, data isn’t shared due to concerns about privacy, safety, security, or for legitimate commercial concerns, but Boulton argued that publishers and funders should be mandating ‘intelligently open data’ and that libraries should be re-skilling to meet this demand. It should be librarian’s role to help make data discoverable and accessible, as part of a wider data ecosystem. 

In a fascinating seminar, Ben Ryan from the EPSRC talked through the reasoning behind the RCUK data principles, the EPSRC research data principles, and how they will be implemented practically. He emphasised that the research councils see sharing data as a legitimate use of research budgets, and that sharing data should be the default, whenever possible.

Research organisations should have the primary responsibility for ensuring researchers manage their data effectively, but that it should be considered ‘research malpractice’ not to make your data open – “We’ve gone past the days when scientists could be trusted simply because they were scientists”, he said.

When it comes to publishing data, my colleague Iain Hrynaszkiewicz from Nature Publishing Group gave a lightning talk charting the rise of the data journal. Scientific Data is one such journal[1] which aims to incentivise researchers to share their data by providing a citable output, linked to the original data stored in subject-specific repositories or broad repositories such as figshare or Dryad. The Data Descriptor (the article type published by Scientific Data) was designed in collaboration with the academic community to make data more discoverable, interpretable and reusable. It ensures that data isn’t forgotten and hidden away in the supplementary material to an article, but is published for the world to see. Data Descriptors also aid in reproducibility, ensuring that the methods for gathering data and conducting research are laid open for others to potentially follow and recreate.

It’s often said that open access is a journey, not a destination, and the same must be true of open data. No talk about open access, discoverability or reproducibility could fail to mention its importance, and no doubt librarians will have a growing role in the years to come in educating their clients and in facilitating open data.

[1] Other data journals are available

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Open data and the future of science

 Speaker: Geoffrey Boulton
By: Neeshe Khan

Science should be open and not closed behind lab doors” was the concluding sentence of Geoffrey Boulton’s talk Open data and the future of science which received a resounding applause.

The talk began with Henry Oldenburg’ correspondence, the first Secretary of the Royal Society who exchanged letters with scientists discussing the quality of manuscripts prior to publishing- the very beginning of peer review. But perhaps more importantly, one of the requirements for publication was that the concept being proposed by the scientist was to be published with the data. This open communication of data between scientists and the public not only revolutionized science at the time but formed a basis of scientific progress ever since.

Currently, sharing large data files accompanying articles can be problematic which in turn can result in a lack of replicability and credibility of the concept being proposed. However, it is fundamental that a published concept must be supported by and printed alongside its metadata for science to progress, even if it is by way of disproving. In the words of Charles Darwin when referring to disproving a concept, “…one path towards error is closed and the road to truth is often at the same time opened.”

The sharing of metadata is also of crucial for us to be able to link data in an intelligent way that supports an in-depth understanding. With the advancement in technologies and access to data we are able to solve progressively complex problems and produce solutions. We are also able to make increasingly accurate predictions (for example weather forecasts which are then re-evaluated in context of reality to increase accuracy for future predictions) and due to the technological advancements the data that is gathered is ever more complex, sophisticated, and factual. Sharing this data will allow science to move from “simplicity” to complexity and from uncoupled systems to highly coupled systems with iterative integration.

This leads to the bigger question of how to extract meaningful knowledge and information from the “Big Data” that is collated to seize the opportunities above, as opposed to the ethos of sharing the data itself. Bearing in mind that deductions from Big Data would make a lot of conventional analytics invalid, for Big Data to be effectively exploited it is imperative to move beyond the current notions of openness and start with “intelligent openness”. This means that the data, metadata and software must be discoverable, accessible, understandable, assessable and reusable, and catered to its respective audience (scientists, citizen scientists or the public) whilst maintaining certain boundaries such as privacy, safety, security, dual use and legitimate commercial interests. And in order to make sense of this intricate, complicated data, imagine a black box that churns out visualizations of a string of mathematical equations for instance. This “black box” is then a source of numerous difficult questions like “who owns the back box?” “What is the human role?” “Who has access to this box?” “Can we analyse and scrutinize what is in the black box?” and “What does it mean to be a researcher in a data intensive age?” etc.

But how do we adopt this infrastructure of highly coupled systems which are supported by iterative integration and intelligent openness? Historically this used to be under the remit of the library but recently adaptability has been driven by the changing technology (and thus the evolving job roles). There are now also many organizations and institutes alongside the Library that assist with the Library’s efforts to collect, organize, and to preserve knowledge, making it accessible and dissipating it to the wider group (for example the efforts of The Royal Society). However the responsibility of facilitating this infrastructure lies with a range of groups, from scientists, universities, funders of research, Publishers, learned societies to the government & EU. Currently, although science is universal it is carried out within a jurisdiction. For this infrastructure science needs to transcend borders, supported by a shift in scientists’ thinking towards sharing data and information to achieve and share scientific progress. In essence, science has been and will be the driver for societies to develop and progress and thus science now, more than ever before, needs to be open and not closed behind lab doors.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Breakout Session C: Two of Us: Library/Press Collaboration

Presentation by Andrew Barker (University of Liverpool) and Anthony Cond (Liverpool University Press), which is very much about partnership, so they talked together (with some interjections!) and not separately.

The relationship between librarians and publishers is like that of a dog and a lamp post, with each thinking the other is a dog, i.e. it is problematic! Obligatory Beatles references - uses Beatles lyrics to relate librarians and publishers ("You never give Me your money", "Money can't buy you love"). Neither relationship is terribly healthy, so why would you want to collaborate?

University of Liverpool is in a strong position to support and enhance scholarly communication because it has everything in-house: a library AND a Press, and teachers, researchers, readers, the Centre for Lifelong Learning, the Computer Services Department, etc.

What forms might collaboration take?
  • LUP Library Advisory Board
- discussion forum - came together to talk;
- ideas for collaboration;
- an anthropological study;
- questions often lead to further questioning of their own processes.
  •  Modern Languages Open 
This was the first fruit of their collaboration.
  • Available as Gold OA under CC-BY or CC-BY-NC licence
  • Rigorous peer review pre-publication and offers interactivity post-publication
  • Wide and broad disciplines across modern languages
  • Flexible, e. word count 3-1500 words
  • Rewards for article reviewers
  • Author funding for early career publishing academics
  • International dissemination
  • Library invested in the journal platform and gave feedback. It has been very well received.
Collaborate on monographs?
They have decided not to as it is expensive, a challenging format, and not the most useful thing for the University of Liverpool. They may experiment with monographs in future.

Collaborate on e-textbooks?

Students expect every book on a reading list to be available in the library. In reality it isn't. Only 81-82% of reading lists are available. Also students want book stock to be increased and kept up-to-date; more computers in library, and more help and direction in the library.
Why not create e-textbooks tailored to their courses, with possible cohorts within the university being: the humanities department, small departments, management and law departments? This is where Jisc came in - with a funding call for e-textbook creation by HEI, to explore personalised learning and the tension existing between improving quality and cutting cost.

There was a very tight deadline to turn around on this. A proposal was quickly drawn up due to the skills of the University Press. It was decided to create a "Essential for Financial Management" e-textbook. This is the largest and most complex module taught at the University (in fact it is taught in two places - Liverpool and the Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in China (XJTLU)). The print textbook costing £56 a copy, so it wasn't possible to buy sufficient copies.

The Xerte tool was chosen. It can create learning objects. They didn't want to use just PDFs, but planned to add garphs, images and interactivity. Students don't like e-books as they are just electronic versions of a book. The e-textbook would be available in OA with also a POD print version.

A second e-textbook called "Using Primary Sources: A guide for Students" is now being created. This would be used in the History School and later in English, the Classics and archaeology disciplines. It will present a digital image and provide a comprehensive explanation from academics on how to use the primary resource, such as manuscripts, Cunard Lists (available as part of the Special Collections of the University). There will be three volumes by period.

Biblioboard is being used to create the e-textbooks, as it is great for images and use on the iPad. This project has been very exciting as it is making the University's Special Collections and Archive more visible. It is also using part of one of the exhibitions held at the University.

Liverpool was one of a number of institutions selected alongside Nottingham, UCL and UHI. It is good to know that Nottingham will also be using Xerte and now looking at the possibility of using Biblioboard. All the institutions involved meet once a year and there are also conference calls. Jisc want lots of data and regular updates.

Now on a "long and winding road"
  • Academics will write. Some just want time, others money.; 
  • The Press will select, shape, edit, credentials
  • One prototype anthology is being created at the moment
  • The Press will produce the POD version, market and distribute
  • The Library will do the technical creation;
  • The Centre for Lifelong Learning and Computer Services Department at the University, along with a steering group (to include students) will ensure the e-textbooks meet all pedagogical & technical standards; 
  • The aim is to have the first tranche of material available on-line in late 2015.
The Press is doing very well, and its openness to partnership with the library is one of the reasons for this. The Press does a lot of things you wouldn't expect from a University Press. It is thinking outside usual confines of publishing. Partnership is so important both within the University and beyond, and this particular partnership is ideal and a great driver of innovation.

After this "Tomorrow never knows"
It is hoped the pilot will be a success and that the data will show this. There is a need for a firm business case to show the University Board that it would succeed without Jisc funding. It is fantastic to be able to experiment and to make a difference to students. Both partners have different business models: the Library is funded publicly, whereas the Press has to be independently financially viable. Coming together there are new possibilities. As long as the Press is not loosing money then the University is happy with this. The Press can have access to the Library's skills, which they would otherwise not have.
Through experimentation and thanks to Jisc funding they can look at the data, learn what business model would be most successful and try to make the project viable in the long term.
Academics are being given the opportunity to put in proposals. The skills of the Press has been invaluable here as they are used to dealing with this process. Both time and sometimes money has to be invested to get the good-quality content for the e-textbooks.

Breakout Session C: Changing Culture and Supporting Open Knowledge at the World Bank Group

A presentation by Carlos Rossel from the World Bank Group

The World Bank is a development agency which has two set goals to achieve by 2030:
  • To end extreme poverty
  • To promote shared prosperity by fostering income growth.
 The World Bank is a vital source of financial products and services to developing countries and the world. There has been a growing movement towards transparency as the World Bank is publicly funded. This has lead to its Open Access policy which was adopted in July 2012.
In the Aid Transparency Index 2014 the World Bank was ranked number 7 in those organisations which are very good. However, this is a fall from being number 1 back in 2011. This is due to tougher reporting standards. The World Bank is working to improve their ranking. The World Bank is an open government partnership and has gone from 8 to 65 participating countries.

The World Bank is also a vital source of technical assistance to developing countries around the world, and provides policy advice. Openness drives accountability and accountability drives results. Therefore, the World Bank has become open by default.
  • Open development - making information freely available and searchable, encouraging feedback, information sharing and accountability. Open about what we know, do, how we work, Open Government.
  • Policy framework 
- a Copyright Directive. The work carried out by World Bank employees belongs to the World Bank. A contract needs to be drawn up to state who owns the work in the case of a collaboration. The World Bank is at the moment working on trying to enable employees to start projects without having to wait to sign a contract before commencing.
- a Open Access Directive. Work undertaken for the World Bank is to be put in the OKR (Open Knowledge Repository), with a CC BY licence. Articles would require the use of institutional publisher agreements. Compliance is going up. The World Bank is looking at articles being published in Open Access journals. It plans to create a list of agreed OA journals where employees can publish, and this list would be revised every 6 months
  • Publisher agreements
The World Bank has agreements with 11 publishers, including Elsevier, Taylor and Francis, Wiley, which allow the articles to be available as Green Open Access but the copyright is still with the World Bank. Publishers provide the required metadata. Authors need to know about this, so step-by-step guidelines have been created, along with outreach and training pages on the intranet.

This has a built-in incentive for authors as it provides rich statistics and has a high level of downloads. Its articles are getting cited in publications such as The Financial Times, which is very important for the World Bank as this is what policy makers read. It has been integrated with altmetrics, looking at such sources as blog feeds and tweets. It is showing that the articles are being read and cited in teh regions where the World Bank are trying to move, i,e, the developing countries.
The OKR also includes information on individual authors, such as the number of downloads, and provides external and ORCID links. There is integration with Scopus and Google Scholar, where you can see links to author's citations and actual work (if you have access rights). There are various tools to measure impact.

In 2012 (the year in which the repository was launched) there was a 110% growth in dissemination. Last year there was a 39% increase. Such a large amount of public money has been invested in research, which is no good to anyone if no one can see it. This is why the World Bank thinks OA is so important.

There are site statistics - you can tell in which country something has been downloaded. In order to be more specific the use of IP addresses would need to be used, which is something the World Bank is looking at.

A bi-annual survey is undertaken by the World Bank. This has shown that access to "big data" is not the issue, but access to the tools needed to analyse this data.

A book from Latin America will be published next month. The World Bank will be interviewing the authors to find out what questions need to be asked in order to ascertain whether the book/research has had the expected outcome.

The question was asked how the World Bank approached the transition to an OA policy culturally. Carlos said that it was very much driven by high-level people who were extremely keen to drive the policy forward. It was a very quick transition and so people had to adjust very quickly. Suddenly the World Bank's database went from being accessible only through subscription to being OA, so effectively the resource has been given away! It was an executive decision, i.e. it wasn't discussed by the Board. Even though there were some concerns to begin with in some quarters, there was a very quick uptake by all departments in the World Bank. Becoming OA has actually proved to have had an excellent outcome. Researchers have embraced it as their work is being disseminated widely and their work is being used/acted upon.

There has been a massive organisational re-structure. By talking to regional managers about being "open by default", the information is being passed on to the researchers they manage. The World Bank also held "brown bag lunches", where they could talk to researchers directly about complying with the OA directive and how easy it is to comply. The 11 publishers the World Bank has agreements with make up 80% of total publishers its researchers publish in. If the World Bank employee wants to publish with another publisher (not in the 11) then Carlos negotiates with that publisher and also signs any contract. This policy seems to avoid any problems with researchers publishing with a publisher who does not provide OA and/or requires the copyright to the work.  

Breakout Session B: Digital Preservation: We Know What it Means Today, But What Does Tomorrow Bring?

This was a presentation made by Randy S Kiefer of the CLOCKSS Archive, looking at the preservation of digital content.

Long-term preservation refers to processes and procedures required to ensure content remains accessible well into the future. It is an attempt to replicate the situation with paper journals. There is a market demand by libraries that want to be assured there is an independent third-party preservation of electronic content. There is a centrally managed preservation of national collections preserved on national soil for safe-keeping. Publishers want to be good stewards of their content and want people to be happy that nothing will be lost.

Preservationists become "keepers" of the content in case a Trigger Event is needed (publisher failure, discontinuation, disaster). It is an "insurance policy" for e-resources.

Commercial hosting, journal hosting platforms (HighWire, Metapress, Ingenta etc) and aggregators are not preservation archives! They have the right to remove discontinued content (and Metapress actually went under last week).

There are two types of digital preservation archives: global (i.e., CLOCKSS, LOCKSS, Portico) and regional (i.e., BL and the Dutch KB).

The CLOCKSS archive began in 2006 as a collaboration between top research libraries and scholarly publication to create a dark archive. This means there is no access to content but it is preserved. 12 sites around the world hold CLOCKSS servers.

The principles:
  • Community governed with responsibility shared. There are 12 governing libraries including OCLC and Edinburgh/EDINA. Both publishers and libraries are on the CLOCKSS Board.
  • A global approach with decentralised preservation, proven open-source technology via LOCKSS (Lots Of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) which is both the award-winning software and the network. (In CLOCKSS, C is for Controlled, as in dark).
  • There is a commitment to open access
  • Content can be activated via Trigger Event, which include the publisher no longer being in business; the title is no longer offered; back issues are no longer available; a catastrophic failure of the server.
  • There is a vote to trigger content. There has to be agreement of at least 75% of the board, with no more than 2 not agreeing. 16 journals have been triggered to date. In each case the publisher itself has come to CLOCKSS.
The CLOCKSS Community is in three parts:
  • Scholars/students & readers of content;
  • Libraries who purchase and manage content;
  • Publishers of above content.
Services provided:
Charitable organisation providing dark archive, delivery of open access of triggered content (not hosted by CLOCKSS, but by the Universities of Stanford and Edinburgh), content insurance for libraries and peace of mind for publishers. The triggered material has a CC non-commercial license.

Brazil is at the moment completing its application to be 13th node (other 12 nodes spread all over the world, including Scotland). The CLOKSS Board has authorized 15 archive nodes in total, so there is an opportunity for another European node.

The CLOCKSS is a trusted digital repository. It is the only digital repository to have scored a perfect 5 in technology and security.

So, where are they going in the future?

Here are the biggest challenges:
  • Formats - discussion of HTML5 and AJAX, with publishers less enthusiastic about the latter than expected.
Funding from the Mellon Foundation has been awarded for CLOCKSS to look at formats. Content is captured as it is ("'just-in-time" translation). The problem is with presentation not content. This needs to be improved.
  • What to do with databases, datasets and supplementary materials
- The key issue is that of space. Everything has to be x12 (i.e. the amount of servers). Partnerships with Figshare, Reveal Digital, etc but CLOCKSS have stepped back from these to re-examine
- Must look at the value of CLOCKSS to the community - talking to various organisations about what the value is and identify what is of most value to keep. Avoid duplication.
- Open vs Closed databases.Open databases, such as Facebook, cannot be captured fully. Only a snapshot (a picture in time) can be taken. You take an initial picture, things change and you take another picture. The first picture is then thrown away. However, this means that what was once in the first picture and now not not in the second will be lost. You can also pick up updates, but these have to be really well tagged.
  • Funding issues: in particular, underwriting small independent publishers who are most at risk. The funding has not changed since CLOCKSS started back in 2008. It is now being discussed.
  • OA access and library support - where do they stand in the priority of preservation? It is wrong to assume that OA sites will stay forever! They have trouble getting funding too. Supporting the library base is also being looked at further.
Randy took questions from the crowd:

More clarification on preserving different formats was given. Any format can be preserved, including video. The issue is that of space, cost and presentation (especially if the format is now not in use/supported). Preservation is built into browsers. e.g. plug-ins to play MP3 music from the 1980s. This helps CLOCKSS.

Storage drive costs had been going down until a fire in 2010 that affected a major disk drive manufacturer. The prices have not recovered since.

All the universities who agreed to host CLOCKSS servers have agreed to US law (and copyright); legally, this can't happen on a cloud-based system. Also, there is no legal precedent with a cloud-based preservation system, and no protection with regards to security. Who would lead the preservation initiative if it was cloud-based?

Discussion of differences between CLOCKSS and Portico.
In the CLOCKSS system the 12 boxes talk to each other all the time to check if there are any problems, e.g. some data is missing. If there are any differences then the majority wins. This happened when there was the natural disaster in Japan. Portico is run using different technology. It has two sites and has a file structure system. It also has a different strategy. It is an archive and post-cancellation service, whereas CLOCKSS is solely an archive. (LOCKSS is used in conjunction to provide post-cancellation access.) It is good to have the two different services as then there isn't a monopoly and both feed off of each other.

All triggered content in CLOCKSS is released in OA, whereas in the case of Portico only its members get the triggered content. No one server or organisation can preserve all materials; it will be a shared global initiative to keep going with this.

A publisher has to agree to be in LOCKSS, but it doesn't cost the publisher anything to participate.

David Rosenthal created the LOCKSS software. His blog on preservation is recommended. It contains both technical and pragmatic discussion.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Breakout Session Group A: Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Making Decisions on the Future of Your Library Management Systems in a Shifting Landscape

Presentation given by Anna Grigson from the London School of Economics and Political Science and Kate Price of King's College London. Both institutions, which are both part of the University of London and are just down the road from one another, have recently looked into whether they should change their library management system.
They are both very different institutions.
LSE - single campus; social sciences focus; 9,200 students; a single library; 4 million print; Voyager and Summon; period of looking at a possible new LMS Jan-Sept 2012.
KCL - Multi-campus; multidisciplinary, 26,000 students; 6 libraries; 2 million print (more electronic than print); Aleph and Primo; period of looking at a possible new LMS Aug 13-Mar 2014.

Both institutions looked at the same broad areas when looking at the question whether to stay with the existing LMS or to go to a new one:
  • Existing system functionality
Here both institutions had different results as they had different systems already in place, different needs and different perceptions.
Acquistions: LSE and KCL both good.
ERM: LSE - weak. KCL - adequate.
Print: LSE and KCL both declining. There is still a need to deal with print, especially at KCL, where there is an interest in South American literature where many titles are print-only.
ERM: LSE and KCL both growing.
ILL: LSE and KCL both continuing.
  • Systems Review
They looked at other LMS in other institutions, e.g. site visits.
  • Requirements
These included: acquisitions, cataloguing, ILL, reporting. Some of these areas are declining, some continuing and some growing.

Seven questions were asked by each institution:
Q1 - Stay or Go?
Here both institutions had slightly different results when looking at their individual requirements. At KCL and LSE journals at that point where better in the existing system. LSE found that their existing reporting function as well as their ERM  had to go. For ILL LSE was neutral about moving and KCL wanted to stay.

Q2 - System maturity?
The new-generation LMS is untested. So what is the best time to go? There are advantages and disadvantages of being an early adopter.
Advantages include:  early access to new functionality; discounts; chance to influence development; more attention from vendor.
Disadvantages include: possible reduction to full functionality; staff time committed to development; staff stress.
Both KCL and LSE did not want to be early adopters. LSE wanted a fully functional system and were not prepared to commit additional staff resource or increase staff stress by being an early adopter.

Q3 - System hosting model?
There is an opportunity here to use a hosted service. It would reduce in-house infrastructure costs and IT staff costs, though it is not sure if this would mean less staff time taken. It would also improve resilience.
There are also risks, such as lose of control over system performance. Moving to a multi-tenant solution (full cloud model) would mean access to webscale functionality, e.g. shared community data, community analytics, but it would also mean a lose of local control over system  customisation and updates.
LSE decided to go as they are very keen on benefiting from community data. Their exisitng infrastructure was at end-of-life. There are potential significant IT savings to be made and the IT department have accepted the risks of cloud services. They have taken advice on contracts and service level agreement, as it is extremely important to know your rights.
KCL decided to stay. They didn't want a "one-size-fits-all" multi-tenant system. Also, their IT department is highly risk-adverse towards a cloud system.

Q4 - System development?
Looking at how the LMS will evolve over time. Open source vs Commercial systems (two ends of the spectrum). With open source systems such as Koha and Kuali there is a lot of choice and input, but more in-house support and expertise is needed for this. Commercial systems involve less choice and input, but less in-house support and expertise is needed. In-house development resource is required, but you can develop it all yourself.

Q5 - Fit with systems strategy?
The  LMS is only one part of an entire ecology within the institution, which includes HR systems, finance systems and registry. It would need to integrate with these systems, and possibly others from outside the institution. The choice of LMS can constrain how libraries can deal with other systems.
LSE undertook a landscape review and drew up a diagram showing all the LMS modules, which illustrated potential integrations. They found that they have 4 search points within the LMS.
At LSE the process was taken to rule things out. They looked at the fit with the the resource discovery system, but not the other library or university systems.
At KCL they took a more holistic approach to the landscape review, and looked at the strategic environment; existing systems and technologies, alternative systems and technologies, technology trends and did a SWOT analysis.
They also looked at data-usage trends, spoke to staff, visited other libraries, had vendor demos, attended events, and looked at the literature. They complied a list of 30 different systems, with there being lots of different layers of systems. They found that four different teams were set up to look after the four different parts of these systems, so there was a mixed-support scenario. They also marked which were back-end and which were public-facing systems. They also looked at the usage trends, noting what was much used and what was little used, and the known issues.

Q6 - Fit with library strategy?
You have to know where you want to go and why you want to go there, for example change or reinforce a particular staff model.
LSE has a strategic focus on improving the "back-end" business processes. New LMS functionality needed to support improvement, so staff resources are justified. The new LMS review to motivate process change and create a culture of continuing improvement. There are not many ERM processes. Their decision was go as a new LMS was a priority.
KCL has a strategic focus on innovation in "customer-facing" staff culture. New LMS functionality was not needed to support this. Customer benefits are not clear enough to justify a new LMS. Their decision was to stay. A new LMS wasn't a top priority.

Q7 - Fit with IT strategy?
At LSE IT infrastructure is moving away from the support of local services to the cloud. IT development is also moving away from bespoke construction and towards standard APIs. IT staff is moving away from departmental IT teams toward central IT support. Their decision was therefore to go.
At KCL they have a similar trajectory with IT support as LSE. However, making a case for a change of LMS would be very challenging. There are major pain points elsewhere: authentication; research data management; digital assets. The therefore decided to stay. IT investment in a LMS change was not justified.

So did LSE and KCL stay or go?
LSE decided to GO as they had functionality needs, IT staffing and infrastructure changes, existing LMS contract was ending and the required financial resources (they had in fact delayed the tender several times in order for the systems to mature). They undertook their tender in July-September 2013 and selected Alma. They have been running Alma for the last 9 months, having implemented it during January to July 2014.

KCL decided to STAY, but they haven't stayed still. There have been further team changes to streamline the LMS support, etc., and improvements made to hardware and software. They are also committed to shared services, such as JUSP and KB+.

What did LSE learn?
  • Functionality is important but not the most important factor;
  • The hosting model affects costs and control;
  • Development approach affects your ability to fit the system to future needs;
  • Vendor ethos and on-going relationships are important.

What did KCL learn?
  • Know what your institution actually needs;
  • Test your assumptions as widely as you can;
  • Learn about systems innovation in other sectors;
  • Consider friction - changing LMS has hidden costs;
  • Systems don't solve problems, people do.

What do you think?
  • Functionality
  • Business model
  • Up-front and maintenance costs
  • Ethos of supplier