21:3 (2006:09) Other Serials News: The E-Journal StampedeSeptember 3, 2006 at 7:35 pm | Posted in Other Serials and E-Resources News | 1 Comment
Head ‘em Up, Move ‘em Out! Corralling the E-Journal Stampede
Reported by Patrick L. Carr
For a sixth year, NASIG’s Continuing Education Committee joined with Mississippi State University Libraries and EBSCO Subscription Services to cosponsor an e-journal workshop for information professionals in the Deep South region. Held at Mississippi State University (MSU) on July 14, 2006, this year’s workshop, titled “Head ‘em Up, Move ‘em Out! Corralling the E-Journal Stampede,” explored issues related to the role and management of e-resources in libraries. In attendance were over ninety information professionals from states across the southeast. Keynote speaker T. Scott Plutchak, Director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences, got the workshop off to a thought-provoking start with his presentation “After the E-Journal: Now It Really Gets Interesting.” Arguing that now is the greatest time in the last five hundred years to be a librarian, Plutchak’s presentation explored the trends that are currently reshaping the distribution of information and the role of libraries. From the Open Access movement to libraries’ imperative to preserve information regardless of its format, Plutchak summarized the myriad of challenges facing information professionals today. His ultimate message was that, although the challenges of managing and providing access to e-resources can seem overwhelming, they present outstanding opportunities for innovation and enhanced services to information seekers.
The workshop’s second speaker, Michael Stephens, Instructor at Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science, discussed emerging technologies that are revolutionizing the means by which libraries meet their users’ information needs. Placing special emphasis on accessing e-journal content, Stephens advocated that information professionals employ proactive strategies for utilizing the technologies that users are embracing. From blogs to instant messaging and from wikis to iPods, Stephens charted out the technologies that are shaping users’ lives and discussed ways that libraries can use these technologies to reshape their services to users.
The workshop’s third presentation, titled “Evolving Concepts and Business Models for Acquiring Electronic Resources: An Agent and Publisher’s Perspectives,” was co-presented by Andrea Cernichiari, Manager of Journal Business Development at Cambridge University Press, and Rebecca Day, Manager of E-Resource Services Development at EBSCO Subscription Services. Cernichiari and Day’s presentation described the forces that are transforming models for acquiring e-journal content from subscriptions to individual titles to “big deal” packages and consortia partnerships. Using a presentation format that allowed the attendees to readily contribute their views and questions about e-resource acquisition, Cernichiari and Day shared their perspectives on how libraries can partner with publishers and subscription agents in order to thrive in this evolving landscape.
The workshop concluded with two presentations which were held concurrently. In her presentation “The FRBR Frontier: Applying a New Bibliographic Model to E-Resources,” Kristen Antelman, Associate Director for the Digital Library at North Carolina State University, provided an overview of how the principles of the FRBR model have the potential to enhance the means through which users search a library’s information retrieval system in order to locate and access e-resources. Antelman discussed current perspectives on the applicability of FRBR to continuing resources and explored some of the concepts associated with seriality in FRBR, including aggregates and the “superwork.”
Held concurrently with Antelman’s presentation was “Happy Trails: Building a User-Centered Online Library,” which was presented by Eric Novotny, Humanities Librarian at Pennsylvania State University. Drawing upon the results of usability studies conducted with students at Penn State, Novotny’s presentation examined how users navigate library websites and search for journals using the online catalog. Novotny incorporated audio clips of students as they describe their (frequently unsuccessful) attempts to search the online catalog in order to locate records for major scholarly journals. Through his analysis of these clips, Novotny enabled the attendees to envision ways in which libraries can offer online resources that match users’ expectations and searching strategies.
Based on the positive evaluations submitted by the attendees, this year’s e-journal workshop can be deemed a success. While Plutchak’s presentation inspired the attendees to contemplate the larger philosophical questions related to the management of e-resources, the presentations of Stephens, Cernichiari and Day, Antelman, and Novotny all brought to light specific tools and trends that promise to shape the future of e-resources. Although only one attendee was lucky enough to bring home as a door prize an autographed copy of a bestseller by MSU alumnus John Grisham, all of the attendees left the workshop with increased enthusiasm and valuable insights that may allow them to solve the many mysteries that continue to surround the role and management of e-resources in libraries.