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I have been overdue on this post for a while, so here it is!

On April 23-24, I attended the Spring meeting of the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries. I normally attend all ASERL meetings, but I had two special reasons to attend this one: I was giving a presentation on ZSRx, and at the close of the meeting, I would assume Presidency of the Association.

First, the presentation. Kyle gave the definitive presentation of ZSRx at CNI in April, which we have already described. For this version, I called it ZSRx: The back story, since it was to my peer deans and directors and I could afford to be honest with them. Many of the slides will look familiar, as I “re-used” them, with Kyle’s permission, of course. I received many comments and questions afterward, as most people were stunned by the idea that a library could offer a MOOC, instead of just supporting it. Sarah Michalak from UNC-CH reported that they were considering offering a course on Metadata on Coursera later this year.

I was part of a panel on Research Libraries and MOOCs (massive, open, online courses). Carrie Cooper of the College of William and Mary did a great job in introducing the topic and providing basic information as well as asking pertinent questions. Catherine Murray-Rust from Georgia Tech spoke about the way they support MOOCs given by their faculty members. She also presented material from Duke, as both of them are active in Coursera. Some people predict that MOOCs are the latest fad that will soon fade, but I think too many of the biggest names in higher education have invested too much money in them to let them go away very soon. They will change and adapt to whichever way the demand pulls them, but I think they will be with us for a while.

Here are the other programs at the meeting:

ASERL’s new Visiting Program Officer in Scholarly Communication is Christine Fruin from the University of Florida. She gave a remote presentation, flawlessly executed, on the recent big copyright cases: Georgia State and e-reserves, Kirtsaeng and right of first sale, ReDigi (first sale for music); as well as FASTR(legislation introduced in Congress to mandate open access), the White House directive on public access, and fair use issues on materials used with MOOCs.

In another session, there was discussion around the sustainability of the annual ASERL statistics, to which WFU contributes every year. Virginia Commonwealth has coordinated it for many years but feels the need to hand it off to others. It was recommended to contract with Counting Opinions, who is already the vendor for ACRL stats. ASERL libraries would have to pay $199 a year, but would also gain access to ARL data for that price.

Roger Schonfeld from Ithaka S+R presented the results of their latest Faculty Survey. This had been premiered at CNI earlier in April. Faculty from all institutions offering bachelor’s degrees were surveyed. Highlights of faculty opinion include:

Discovery and access: libraries do well with known item searching and scholarly databases; 78% use library resources; 65% use free material online.

Who is your primary audience? Faculty said (in order): my sub-discipline, my discipline, professionals outside academia, undergraduates (last).

What is the role of the library? Buyer, gateway, repository, teaching facilitator, research supporter. Humanists assigned the greatest value to the library, then social scientists, and scientists last.

Format transitioning: 66-75% still use scholarly monographs, preferably in print, with only searching and exploring references being features that are better in ebooks. Still, 16% say within five years there won’t be a need for print books.

Natasha Jankowski from the National Institute of Learning Outcomes Assessment, co-located at the Universities of Illinois and Indiana, gave an overview of NILOA’s programs. She was not that familiar with library efforts with outcomes assessment (though she did mention RAILS, ACRL’s Assessment Immersion, and the Library Assessment Conference; she had nothing good to say about LibQUAL) so there was a good deal of learning on both sides. The purpose of learning assessment is to inform students of their learning and where they are in the path to their goals. She cited St. Olaf College and Miami-Dade as examples of best practices.

A presentation on CHARM, the Consortium for the History of Agricultural and Rural Mississippi, led to a call for a broader program on agriculture in the South, perhaps as the next digital collection following the Civil War portal. This will be taken up in the coming year.

There were updates on ASERL’s Gov Docs and Journal Retention projects. We, at ZSR, are much more invested in the journal project. ASERL has signed a collaborative agreement with a similar regional program in the Washington DC area, with combined holdings that make it even bigger than the well-known WEST program. Carol is our representative to this group, and I have served as the Chair, although I will need to step down in the coming year.

The grand finale of the meeting was to officially launch the ASERL Guide to Southern Barbecue! Lauren Corbett was one of the prime movers of this initiative. Enjoy!