The last Charleston report for 2019!

University of Houston (Kerry Creelman, Nancy Linden, and Nora Dethloff): The typical presentation on re-organizing collections, liaisons, and tech services. A few fresh nuggets:

  • Establishing time-limited subscriptions wherein new resources will be reviewed after three years. Some resources are reviewed on an even quicker timetable.
  • Houston, like WFU, has purchased a lot of resources where they pay a large amount once and a much smaller access fee annually. UH is not considering these resources to be sacrosanct. They may decide to stop paying the access fee in cases of low usage. (To my knowledge, WFU has done this exactly once.)
  • They needed to pause their reorganization process during their Alma migration to avoid taking on too much change all at once.

This year’s debate was: “Resolved: Preprint servers have improved the scholarly communication system.” Oya Rieger (Ithaka S+R) debated in favor of the proposition. Predictably her remarks focused on increased access. Kent Anderson (Caldera Publishing Solutions) argued against the proposition. The core of his argument was that preprint servers contain many papers that are never subsequently published in peer-reviewed venues. As such, these papers enable the junk science and fake news crises, especially since mainstream journalists and the lay public have difficulty differentiating between preprints and peer-reviewed articles in terms of authoritativeness.

I attended two presentations featuring former ZSR employees. I already mentioned Jim Galbraith’s work in the last staff meeting. Anna Dulin Milholland conducted a project with William & Mary’s business subscriptions. She applied the marketing concepts of “points of parity” and “points of difference.” For the points of parity, she surveyed the holdings of peer schools and concluded that W&M should subscribe to all databases if at least 75% of the peers also subscribed. The “points of difference” are what would make W&M stand out. She brought her analysis to her funders in the business school and received a budget increase sufficient to cover their needs. I particularly like how she adapted concepts that would resonate with her business school audience.

A few sidenotes:

  • This year’s linguistic observation: No one ever brags about establishing silos. However, new ones must necessarily be created so we can tear them down in the future.
  • An attendee from NYU pulled me aside to extol the usefulness of one of Bob Hebert’s LibGuides.