Contents: Alma from Ex Libris, take care in using downloads as a measure part 2, EPUB 3, NISO ODI (do we need to tweak Summon?), DPLA working on e-books, the Charlotte Initiative, Overdrive, ORCID, and the rising cost of e-book short-term loans with a DDA program part 2

My focus was networking to hear nitty gritty details from the field and to follow-up on items from last year! Charleston is a very good conference for informative chats in hallways. I learned about a number of retirements!

Alma – was the library service platform that I heard mentioned frequently again, but often in the context of post-migration this year. I asked anyone I met using Alma to tell me about their headaches. Members of the Orbis-Cascade consortium – early adopters of Alma – who spoke of undeveloped or underdeveloped aspects of the system. I would expect that in the case of early adopters. Other librarians who have come on board more recently spoke of issues of the type that can come with any system change and at least one reported that things are better now compared to the experiences of early adopters. Thank goodness for those who go before us! I also heard that Alma has had some downtime, something we know that OCLC’s WMS experienced to the point that CEO Skip Pritchard recently blast-emailed an apology. I’m beginning to wonder if that is a problem with these newer library service platforms. I sure hope that by the time we’re seriously looking at a new system, downtime is a thing of the past!

Carol Tenopir – Slides are online now from last year’s “To Boldly Go Beyond Downloads” (or download the text version from here). Last year Tenopir reported from research with focus groups and interviews that downloads were on the decline and “be careful about using it as a measure.” The interesting follow-up this year (and I had to sit on the floor in an over-full room) was that as faculty responded in the survey or interviews, they realized that sharing PDFs might be illegal, but they are focused on the goal of furthering their research, so they will do it anyway and they think of themselves as just “little fish.” Sharing the article instead of downloading at the source reduces the download count statistics, adding to why the publishers and librarians cannot totally rely upon these measures.

EPUB 3 is citable, is good for helping those with visual challenges, and could be pervasive if people would embrace it. I found a webpage that seems to cover much of what was said: http://epubzone.org/epub-3-overview/understanding-epub-3 The speakers in this session recommended training first year students to know how to download EPUB instead of PDF and to help faculty see the advantages. I’m mindful of the Betamax vs. VHS situation and how differently HD DVD vs. Blu-ray played out more recently, so the crystal ball seems a bit murky on this one.

I heard IEEE, Sage, and Gale report on participation in NISO Open Discovery Initiative (ODI). I was thunderstruck when I heard the speaker for IEEE say that the process helped them realize that 3000 of 6000 standards had not been submitted for indexing and that they’ve been able to rectify that. Gale’s speaker said that the internal audit helped them to think about what is next. An action item for libraries is to ask publishers if they have conformance statements. These publishers also learned that the configuration that a library implements in a discovery service can inhibit discovery and Gale is developing widgets for optimization. Guides should be posted to the NISO website in 2016.

Who knew DPLA is working on e-books? I didn’t! October Ivins, working with the Charlotte Initiative, was excited to learn about this. Our very own NC Home Grown eBooks (Bill Kane and I talked with Tim Rogers as he was shaping that project) was covered at this session by Jill Morris, formerly of NC LIVE (now at Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc.).

Overdrive has long focused on e-books for public libraries. The model is based on check-outs, meaning one user at a time, unless you buy multiple copies. Now Overdrive is moving into the academic market and they have developed some classroom set discounts and offer simultaneous use.

I heard a librarian from Texas talking about Elsevier’s Pure to manage the institution’s research and she said they realized they needed a campuswide implementation of ORCID, which provides numerical unique identification of researchers.

While there was talk about the death of the short-term loan (STL), there was also talk about changes to the pricing model for it. I’m sure other attendees from ZSR will mention e-book short term loans since many of us were at one session dedicated to the topic. For background on the problem, I’ll refer you again to my post from last year.