Saturday, June 26, 2010

Creating Change in Scholarly Communication

I was a panelist at the SPARC-ACRL Forum on Saturday (and at the discussion group on Sunday.) Here are my notes.

Change from the ground up – Campus-based policies to ensure Open Access to institutional research outputs through proactive copyright management, with Jonathan Miller, Library Director at Rollins College.

First I must acknowledge the work of Cynthia Snyder, Bill Svitavsky, David Noe, all librarians at Rollins. They are doing the real work of building the repository.

Rollins is a good selective liberal arts college in central Florida. With 3200 FTE students and 203 faculty. We emphasize teaching excellence. Our mission is to educate students for global citizenship, and responsible leadership. Most of our faculty members are active researchers, creators, and writers, but their main job is to teach.

We have an endowment that is better than most, but not as big as we want it to be. We have survived the latest recession better than most, but the library has had a flat G&S budget for three years.

So, in the context of US higher education, a perfectly normal school.

So how have I, the director of a small college library, found myself in the august company of colleagues from Duke, and UC San Diego?

Since the Rollins Arts & Sciences faculty passed their Open Access Policy a number of my librarian colleagues from around the country have expressed surprise that Rollins should be one of the first liberal arts colleges to pass such a policy. In fact I think we were third, after Trinity University in San Antonio and Oberlin.

Well, I would argue that Open Access is not just for the big guys. It is not just the concern of research universities. In fact I think it might be more relevant for small colleges than for larger schools.

Rollins, as a small, largely undergraduate, teaching intensive, school with a liberal arts curriculum that, at least in one sense, means we need broad not deep access to information. We are net information consumers rather than net producers and our students and faculty make a little use of a lot of resources, rather than a lot of use of a few resources, or a lot of use of a lot of resources. The subscription model of collecting a relatively small number of periodical titles “just in case” students need articles in those titles, doesn’t make much business sense for us. What we really need is “just in time” access to a broad array of information resources, none of which will be used particularly heavily.

Our Open Access policy was simply one part of a larger strategy to change focus of the faculty and students of Rollins College from a local library collection to a larger world of information. There are four parts to this strategy that I will mention today:

1. Working politically to create the scholarly communication system we prefer and that meets the needs of the students and faculty at liberal arts colleges.
2. Building collaboration and cooperation with – amongst others -- the state universities of Florida.
3. Moving aggressively from print to digital periodicals.
4. Contributing to open access initiatives and exploiting open access resources.

First, working politically – I am the outgoing chair of the ACRL Government Relations Committee which plays a leading role in the advocacy efforts of ACRL . For the last few years, pre-dating my involvement, much of that advocacy has focused on open access and on finding a productive balance in terms of copyright law. I also serve on the SPARC Steering Committee. My research and writing also concerns copyright policy. On campus I have looked for opportunities to present that research to my colleagues and build a reputation as someone with whom they can discuss copyright issues.

At the state level I have worked with others to get libraries in the three Florida higher education silos – state universities, state colleges and community colleges, and the private schools to think about cooperation and collaboration. That has led to some interesting strategic planning, some cooperative licensing, and to Rollins and Miami participating in the Florida group involved in the Open Library Environment Project, putting significant money into the project.

I also led an effort amongst liberal arts college library directors nationally to protest the Nature Publishing Group’s recent exorbitant increase in the online subscription price for Scientific American. We also cancelled our subscription. This was not universally popular on campus, but it was an opportunity to explain why we thought we had to hold the line on periodical prices.
That is a good segue into the next point – aggressively moving from print to digital periodicals. Obviously, most if not all of us are doing this these days, we at Rollins are doing for the usual reasons – our users prefer digital articles to print, we are able to link these articles into our wider information systems, we save space, etc. But, in response to flat budgets, we also did a major periodical cancellation project in the last 18 months, focused on print subscriptions because the use was so low and the subscription prices were increasing so fast that the model was unsustainable. We worked closely with faculty on this project and this increased their awareness of just how expensive the annual subscriptions to scholarly periodicals have become. That project was definitely about cuts, but we described it as a necessary pruning. We made sure that faculty understood that when budgets came back, we would consider adding subscriptions to digital content. In the meantime we continued to make them aware of open access journals, open repositories and made sure to incorporate these open resources into our systems and services.

So: I have a reputation on campus as someone who thinks about copyright. The Library is acting in a concerted way to protest journal price hikes, to limit our exposure to periodical inflation, and to find ways to improve our users access to a broad array of resources, including open resources, and our faculty are primed to think about scholarly communication in general and journal pricing in particular.

Which leads us to my presence on this panel. If are going to encourage our faculty and students to use open access resources as information consumers, shouldn’t we also contribute to those resources as information producers?

We were given good advice by those who had traveling this road before us: the good people at SPARC, Peter Suber, Ray English, Diane Graves, Terri Fishel. So I pass this on to you:

  • Find faculty champions to push the OA policy
  • Build the institutional repository at the same time as you develop the policy.
  • Find the message that resonates with particular audiences: on our campus the provost was interested in institutional reputation, the Dean of Faculty by the idea of a stable repository of faculty publications, IT and the librarians in a hosted solution from Bepress which did not involve much staff time and expertise in implementation, and – most importantly – the faculty were interested in more visibility for their own research and a policy that was flexible enough to enable them to get an automatic waiver when necessary, and that recognized the diversity of their output. Fully half of the output of Rollins faculty is something other than the classic peer-reviewed scholarly article.
The policy passed the A&S faculty unanimously in February. The institutional repository site went live at about the same time. We have spent the last few months tweaking the site and loading materials. The next big push will come in the Fall, once we get the data on last year’s publishing output from the annual report each faculty member submits to the Dean.

What are the next steps?

  • Continuing to populate the repository.
  • Passing a similar policy in the other faculty on campus: the faculty of the business school.
  • Reaching out to journal editors on campus – both faculty and students -- and offering to host their content. Preferably with open access, but toll access if necessary.
  • Building other collections – theses for instance.
  • Continue to work on other parts of the strategy – statewide collaboration and cooperation, rewriting our copyright use policy so that it offers more practical guidance to faculty, moving from print to digital, and working politically. I will be on the Hill on Tuesday, lobbying for FRPAA.
Let me end by just mentioning the faculty champions on our campus. Both were members of the Professional Standards Committee. Thom Moore, a physicist who directs the faculty/student collaborative research program, and Claire Strom, a historian and journal editor of Agricultural History. Claire drafted the policy, Thom shepherded it through the faculty.

Throughout the process I was in the background, frankly “loaded for bear” ready with facts, figures, and arguments. I worried we needed to hold all kinds of informational meetings with various constituencies. Thom said, “nah.”

I came to that final faculty meeting ready for any eventuality and just sat and watched Thom and Claire quickly and quietly move to the unanimous vote. At the end the meeting Thom came over and just said, “told you.”

Demonstrating the Value of Libraries

This session from the University Libraries Section was formally titled "Demonstrating Excellence in Higher Education: What Universities are Doing. What Libraries are Doing." University libraries, particularly public ones, and libraries in Europe and Asia are very concerned with this, but we all need to be. Personally, I am increasingly interested in trying to find ways to accurately indicate what value we add to the mission of Rollins.

The speakers included Alexander C. McCormick, Director, National Survey of Student Engagement & Associate Professor, School of Education, Indiana University; J. Stephen Town, Director of Information, University Library and Archives, The University of York; Patricia Brennan, Director of Product Management for Evaluative Products, Thomson Reuters; and the moderator was Marilyn Myers, Associate Dean for Public Services, University of Houston Libraries.

McCormick talk on NSSE was interesting. He pointed out that ranking largely track the incoming SAT scores of students, research rankings ignore undergraduates entirely, and that the official measure of quality assurance in the US is the accreditation process. He did note that there is a direct relationship between students' reported library use and measures of institutional quality, but when one isolated library there is no independent impact on outcomes. He urged libraries to emphasize a “Discourse of improving, not proving.”

But the best speaker was Towns, the University of York in the UK. One measure I use to determine if I have been in a good session, is if I come out with a reading list. Towns gave me that:

ARL SPEC Kit 305

SCONUL’s “Performance portal

Roxanne Missingham. 2005. Libraries and economic value: a review of recent studies. Performance Measurement and Metrics 6, no. 3, (September 1): 142-158. (accessed June 28, 2010). [Rollins people can find the fulltext here.]

Petros A Kostagiola, and Stefanos Asonitis. 2009. Intangible assets for academic libraries. Library Management 30 (6/7): 419.

Town made the point that, “All of this [talk of value and impact] may damage the idea of libraries as ‘transcendent’ collective and connective services.”

He said we need comprehensive and holistic measurement --- true worth, transcendent valuation, in a narrative of worth.

Google Book Search Settlement Discussion

This was a session organized by the ALA Washington Office. The session focused on the future rather than on describing the case. It included Jonathan Band, who provides legal advice for the Library Copyright Alliance, James Grimmelmann of NYU, Mark Sandler of the CIC, Mary Beth Peters (who will be retiring as Register of Copyrights at the end of this year) Johanna Shelton (previously a Congressional Committee staff member and now a lobbyist for Google.)

Peters described the proposed settlement as a "bridge too far." The Judge, Denny Chin, recently appointed to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals may provide a roadmap to a more reasonable settlement, the two parties are keen to find such a settlement.

Band laid out a series of scenarios and each of the panelists responded to those.

The first was if the settlement is rejected, litigation ensues, and Google is found to have infringed.

Shelton pointed out that the settlement addresses the legacy problem, not the future of books. Google’s future of books is their “Google Editions” in which consumers can buy and store online books in a personal account. This will be an open platform with opportunities for device developers and bookstores. Not proprietary like Kindle or iPad.

Sandler addressed what the libraries partners might do. He pointed out that we still have Hathi Trust with over 1,000,000 books in the public domain and 6,000,000 in copyright. He stated that, “It is inconceivable that anyone with a shred of a sense of social justice will suggest that those files [the 6 million in-copyright digitized books] be deleted.”

The second scenario was that we scale back to scan and snippet display.

Sandler pointed out that this would still be a substantial benefit to people, because they will use Google Books as a discovery service and come to libraries to find the print. Band pointed out that one can also just use of snippets for reference and Grimmelmann noted other fair uses like the ability to search and conduct research across the collection. Peters suggested that under these circumstances other companies could push for legislation.

Grimmelmann used that opportunity to argue for a radical revision of copyright law with shorter, fixed terms and clear notices. Peters, with long experience, pointed out the difficulty of achieving the correct balance in legislation and that Europe was proceeding with mass digitization and using licensing to manage compensation.
Sandler described the recent decision in Viacom v. YouTube as encouraging. Google’s ability to take down when notified was enough. We can do this in higher education; digitize and then take down if the owner comes forward.

My take away from this is that any definitive decision in the Google Book Search settlement is a long way off and when it does come the outcome will be more limited and lead to less radical change in library service than I had hoped. In the meantime we have to proceed to providing access to those Hathi Trust public domain titles, and pursue digital book access via licensing with individual packages and unify the search experience for users via services like Summon.

Here are a couple of unsubstantiated factoids from the presentation: the size of the existing digitized collection at GBS is around 12 million titles -- 2 million in the public domain, 2 million commercially available and under copyright in the Google partners program, and 8 million potentially in copyright scanned from library collections, 20% of those 8 million are orphaned works. About 35% of the public domain works are viewed during any month.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summon Advisory Board

This was the second meeting of the advisory board and, as with the first, it was an meeting of a committed group of developers and of thoughtful librarians from all over the world. I think Summon is still ahead of the game in unified discovery but has some competition particularly from EBSCO's new discovery product.

New publishers and resources continue to be added, search and relevance continue to be refined, de-duplication is improving, next week we get better usage stats, and an autocomplete feature. As well as lots more stuff a bit further out.

I have lots to talk to Bill and the rest of Digital Services when I get back.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sustaining Copyright in Culture

I am in D.C. for the next week for a variety of meetings, the Center for Intellectual Property's 2010 Symposium, the Summon Advisory Board, then ALA, followed by a visit with Ms. Evangeline Moore about her father's papers, and then the ALA National Day of Advocacy on Capitol Hill.

Let's start with the symposium. This is the first one I have attended and I am not convinced it was money well spent. First that title. Hybrid C: Sustaining Copyright in Culture. I get the hybrid, we live in a hybrid world of analog and digital works and have for many decades, the phrase "sustaining copyright in culture" is as confusing, hazy, and empty as the Symposium turned out to be. I signed up because I thought I might learn something more about fair use, but the argument put forward by Jaszi and Jonathan Band, was pretty extreme. Here is the abstract to Band's 2007 paper for ARL.

“Three appellate decisions [Blanch v. Koons, Perfect 10 v., and Bill Graham Archives v. Dorling Kindersley] concerning fair use should give educators and librarians greater confidence and guidance for asserting this important privilege. In all three decisions, the courts permitted extensive copying and display in the commercial context because the uses involved repurposing and recontextualization. The reasoning of these opinions could have far-reaching implication in the education context.”

Band thinks these decisions “should give educators and librarians greater confidence and guidance for asserting this important privilege.” Because, if I understand the argument, simply copying copyrighted works originally published for a non-educational market, in an educational context "re-contextualizes" the work and thus makes the use fair use. But he also notes, “many copyright owners will not agree.” (Band, December 2007.)

I did enjoy listening to Maria Pallante and David Balto on the Google Book Search settlement. They disagree on whether the judge will accept the settlement or not, but seem to agree it will be appealed. We could be in for a very long wait on this one.

I had hoped to get some good ideas on how to incorporate issues of copyright and information policy into information literacy, and some of the audience had some ideas (focus on carrots not sticks for undergraduates with contexts that interest them like textbook costs, fan fiction, and open access), but the panelists didn't.

I think that was the overall problem with the symposium. The format of theater style seating before talking heads on a raised panel, left little time for Q&A or interaction. I could have watched a webcast.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Thinking About the Future of College Libraries

It is planning time at Olin (when isn't it planning time? Planning should be continuous!) I am gathering readings to be shared with the librarians. So on top of my hastily put together presentation to some Balinese librarians, I also have the following:

Horizons 2010

A collection of 21 pieces gathered by Alire and Evans.

C&RLN's 2010 top ten trends in academic libraries: A review of the current literature.

I haven't had a chance to look at the IMLS wiki yet, but it looks vaguely promising.

Do you have any others I should take a look at?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Indonesian Food

From Bali Photos
I really enjoyed the food we ate in Bali. The traditional food of Bali was sweet potato and corn served with vegetables. Meat was rarely eaten and rice was a cash crop. This changed with the green revolution when white rice became more common, as Bali became more open to other Indonesia cuisines, and particularly with the increased economic development that came with tourism. Now the Balinese eat rice up to three times per day and eat more fish and meat. The result has been an increase in obesity and diabetes. We obviously ate in restaurants, tourist restaurants, but it was fun getting to know Indonesian dishes like nasi goreng, nasi campur, mei goreng, and gado-gado. We even had a cooking lesson with Nyoman's family. here are some videos of me learning how to make gado-gado, a vegetable dish with bean sprouts and a spicy peanut sauce.

Trust me. I did more food prep than these videos show. We made about five different dishes. All were delicious.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bali Photos

You can view all my Bali photos here on picasa. I have identified many of them.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Nature news article on open access and government mandates.

As I try to catch up with at least a semester's worth of e-mails, this article from Nature (April 7, 2010) caught my eye.

Blogging from Bali

Phil Deaver just sent me this. We would go to this local restaurant (Marni's? Mauni's?) and use their wifi while drinking Bintang's, the local beer. Many of my posts came from here. I am surpised I got any blogging doen at all!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The Lontar Museum in Singaraja.

The Lontar palm leaf is a common traditional writing surface in southeast Asian and India. You can learn a bit more about them here and there is a fine digital archive of them here.

Museum is a misnomer, it is in fact a library or archive. We got a great introduction to the collection from the trained librarian guide who appears in these videos.

One amazing thing about both the art museums and the library we visited is how open they are to the elements in such a tropical climate. As you see in these pictures
From Bali Photos

From Bali Photos

the lontars, although protected in their boxes, were open to the humidity and temperature changes. This was also true of the Arma and and Neka Museums in Ubud.

The Impact of Balinese Religion upon the Rollins Group

Throughout the trip I have been asking members of the group about how they see our engagement with aspects of Balinese Hinduism based their own religious beliefs. Here are some of the clips.

Ilan on cockflighting

This is what it feels like ....