The conference also had other takeaways for me:
Data and text mining are here to stay. As noted in a panel discussion, contemporary scholars are requesting access to sets of raw data to assist their research. This amount of access can have implications not only for traditional statistics and findings, but it can also extend to social media as tweets and other postings are collected. As with any other form of research, however, the need is not just to retrieve the information but to create new insights from it. This would also be invaluable if the digital Dark Age described by Google’s Vint Cerf were to become a reality.
Developing flexible materials budgets. In a presentation by Rachel Fleming of Appalachian State University, the question about reexamining the way budgets are laid out was an interesting one. Rather than looking at budgets traditionally in terms of format or fund codes, Ms. Fleming suggested a more holistic approach to budgeting, taking into account the fluidity of interdisciplinary funding for purchases as well as formats that do not yet exist. (This mode of thinking has part of collection management at ZSR for several years.) Finally, Ms. Fleming suggested the addition of “flex funds” into a revised budget that can be used for experimentation and new initiatives when needed.
Next year will be the 25th anniversary for the North Carolina Serials Conference, and it promises to be a grand affair. I’m already looking forward to seeing the programs that will be scheduled as well as the speakers who will be participating!