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Collection Management in a Digital Age: Crouching Tigers and a few strategies Tony Horava OLA SuperConference Feb. 3, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Collection Management in a Digital Age: Crouching Tigers and a few strategies Tony Horava OLA SuperConference Feb. 3, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Collection Management in a Digital Age: Crouching Tigers and a few strategies Tony Horava OLA SuperConference Feb. 3, 2011

2 Agenda What is collection management today? What factors affect our understanding of a collection An environmental scan – the transformed world in which we develop and manage collections A few crouching tigers that we face Ideas and strategies to mitigate the challenges (taming the tigers, or at least preparing ourselves better…).

3 Collection management – a sampling of definitions: –Simply put, collection management is the systemic, efficient and economic stewardship of library resources (Paul Mosher) –The goal of any collection development organization must be to provide the library with a collection that meets the appropriate needs of its client population within the limits of its fiscal and personnel resources. (Bonita Bryant) –Collection development is a term representing the process of systematically building library collections to serve study, teaching, research, recreational, and other needs of library users. (Michael Gabriel)

4 Key traditional activities under this umbrella: Selection & acquisition of materials; Collection development policy; Assessment of patron needs; Collection analysis; Budget management; Space management including storage Community outreach & liaison Resource-sharing arrangements De-selection/cancellation & preservation

5 Traditional assumptions regarding collections Ownership Control Tangibility (mostly on-site materials) Permanence Predictability (eg formats) Comprehensiveness Implicit pride and prestige for the institution Implicit value judgements -privileging/selecting sources –How much of this still holds true today?

6 Discoverability ….if the library long tail is to be effectively prospected, then the cost of discovering and using library collections and services needs to be as low as possible - Lorcan Dempsey, Libraries and the Long Tail D-Lib Magazine, April 2006 The challenge: how we lower the barriers in the fulfillment chain - to aggregate supply and aggregate demand for information resources and demonstrate our unique capabilities –in the long shadow of Google Books. Google forces us to demonstrate why a library collection is still important as ever..

7 Snapshot of current landscape A post-control, media-rich, world defined by participatory culture An exponential growth in available resources; the information tsunami is forever Uncertainties of post-secondary funding in Ontario Flat or declining budgets Pressures to repurpose physical collection space for learning & study purposes New and non-traditional forms of knowledge, eg oral history, streaming audio and video, research datasets, blogs, tweets, etc.

8 Snapshot of current landscape (contd) Digital format becoming dominant Consortial acquisitions extremely important ; consume large portion of collection budgets Challenge of aggregating supply and demand for online information resources Challenge of adapting to new forms of scholarly communication and information-seeking behaviours A swirl of research metrics to assess the impact of authors, journals, and articles.

9 Content and containers The relationship between content and containers is being challenged as never before – what happens when we deconstruct the relationship? Content and interactivity now are intimately linked in ways previously impossible before the digital era. Mining the collection to the smallest possible unit: unlocking new possibilities for knowledge & learning Weve always been burdened by the stuff.We are about manuscripts, then books, and then digital files. We are the People of the Container. - Mike Ridley, The Information Age is Over. Its Toast. Done. OLA Access May 2010 Done.pdf

10 Core values Equity of access Intellectual freedom Privacy Stewardship Trustworthiness Democracy Commitment to literacy How do we maintain core values while recognizing that our collection management activities/workflows and scholarly communication practices are undergoing radical change?

11 Tech services backdrop Increasing demands with fewer staff ; much greater complexity of work re digital resources. Our collection strategies & budgets are predominantly digital – the need to right-size our tech services to allocate adequate staff to manage digital resources: Print Inversion Paradox (R2 Consulting) Transformation of workflows: Creating more efficiencies and matching staff skill-sets to evolving roles & responsibilities required to support information management tasks, eg ordering, receiving, payment, troubleshooting, etc. E-resources management systems: critical for collection maintenance and various workflows involving renewals, access, licensing, etc.

12 What are the attributes of a collection today? Embedded in multi-dimensional spaces, both virtual and physical Sense-making function: translating information resources into knowledge to solve problems Multiplicity of access channels and acquisition models More dynamic and user-centric than ever before A hybrid, distributed model - access or ownership Accountability and demonstrating value for money Anchored in learning and research outcomes Both an intellectual construct and a critical, tangible presence that still defines the library: shrinking down to micro devices while expanding across space and time.

13 Crouching tiger #1: Budget allocation How do we determine budget allocation, to best meet the research and curriculum priorities of the institution? Traditional budget structures (format, discipline, library) are inadequate for the multiplicity of challenges today. The average ARL university library is spending 51% of its materials budget on electronic resources. (2008 report) Costs for ongoing commitments consuming an ever- growing portion of the collection budget

14 Budget allocation (contd) A few issues – –deep interdisciplinarity of research; –bundled resources; –serials/monographs balance; –consortial commitments; –complex pricing models; –resources that just dont fit in our budget structures

15 Multiple publishing models (from Rick Anderson* The Unitary Chunk – one-off publications The Pile-On – a cumulative collection The Churning Constant – aggregator database The Teenager – a collection that is growing over time The Big Deal – committing to a spend level while gaining access to an entire collection at low marginal price *Managing Multiple Models of Publishing in Library Acquisitions Against the Grain Feb 2010, 18-20

16 *Source: ARL Statistics 2005-06, Association of Research Libraries, Washington, D.C. *Includes electronic resources from 1999-2000 onward


18 Crouching Tiger #2: Unsustainability Major collision course between increase in journal publication and budgets under severe pressure Increased usage is a double-edged sword: can justify our expensive investments while allowing the vendor to use unit costs per download as argument for increased value and pricing. At the same time, new products/packages are developed at a feverish pace Vendor business plan predicated on expanding their market share, ie library take-up of new resources

19 Crouching Tiger #3: Information Fragility The enormous challenges of digital preservation: –Multiple possible scenarios for digital data loss; –Scale of collaboration required; –Policies and procedures; –Human and technological resources; –Organizational commitment –And not ignoring the importance of print preservation either... How do scholars and librarians work together to ensure that resources created today will be available in the future? - Deanna Marcum, Preservation of Scholarship: The Digital Dilemma

20 Stewardship and uniqueness correlates Lorcan Dempsey and Eric Childress,

21 The many threats to digital information......these potential threats include media failure, hardware failure, software failure, communication errors, failure of network services, media and hardware obsolescence, software obsolescence, operator error, natural disaster, external attack, internal attack, economic failure, and organizational failure. -Trustworthy Repositories Audit & Certification: Criteria and Checklist. Chicago: OCLC and CRL, 2007

22 Crouching Tiger #3 : Information Fragility (contd) Scholars Portal is working towards Trusted Digital Repository status to certify its commitment to preserve purchased materials for which we have local loading and perpetual access rights, in perpetuity. Involves - organizational infrastructure; risk management infrastructure; comprehensive policies and procedures What about information resources that cant be purchased or locally hosted, or cant be loaded for technical reasons? And what about analog collections?

23 Crouching tiger #4: The Cancellation Monster Fiscal restraint means purchasing power is being reduced in all libraries; cancellations will become more frequent Spreading the pain equitably across disciplines or research areas is a challenge, but can be an opportunity to re-evaluate older decisions that may not apply any more. Multi-year, locked-in commitments and the challenge of the Big Deal – weighing pros and cons Key issues: Usage statistics, input from users, cost considerations, interface/functionality issues.

24 Cancellation Monster (contd) Can be an opportunity to: –Review usefulness of print subscriptions; –Save money by switching from an unlimited license to concurrent user model; –Compare overlapping resources and cancel the less valuable one; –Determine whether an open access alternative exists; –Sensitize faculty and others to the cost of resources (sticker shock) –Determine whether alternatives, eg ILL/docdel, are good enough

25 Crouching Tiger #5: Risk Aversion Conservatism and risk aversion are endemic to educational institutions We aim to be all things to all people, with respect to delivering information resources We need to retain the best of our traditions -our values, our experience, our knowledgewhile embracing the opportunities in a more imaginative & focused light. –For academic libraries, fostering a culture of continuous change will require increasing agility, embracing innovation and experimentation, and approaching the unknown and the evolving with greater ease and sense of opportunity – Maloney, Antelman, Arlitsch, and Butler, Future Leaders Views on Organizational Culture College & Research Libraries July 2010: 323.

26 Risk Aversion & innovation (contd) Innovation means many things to many people– how does it support our strategic directions in regard to collections activities?...Invariably cheaper and faster, disruptive technologies are often easier to use even if quality is not high and capacity is not large at the outset. In general, disruptive technologies require new service models and pricing structures that challenge established organizations and the interests and expertise of the individuals within them. –Walter Lewis, The Innovators Dilemma: Disruptive Change and Academic Libraries, Library Administration & Management 18, no. 2 (Spring 2004): 68-74.

27 Risk Aversion & innovation (contd) Sustaining change (incrementally improving what we currently do) vs transformative change (paradigm change to create a different value proposition for the patron) To what extent do we embrace transformative change and the opportunities/risks involved? To what extent do our organizations support a discourse on transformative change? And an open dialogue on the implications of making choices? Divergent or lateral thinking is a valuable tool to develop for mapping the future (whether for collections issues or more broadly)

28 Some strategies to consider #1:Focusing on what is sustainable –Prioritizing our collection-related activities in light of strategic goals, eg aligning ourselves with evolving institutional needs and directions. –Issues such as: wider use of approval plans; streamlining tech service workflows; repurposing physical space; optimizing resource access for mobile devices; embedding librarians in academic departments –Viewing these issues through the lenses of scholarly communication systems and information-seeking behaviours of our diverse community, and organizational efficiency

29 Strategies (contd) #2: Consider what a collection does rather than what a collection is. –The value of the tonnage model (size of collection) has been largely replaced by the access model. –The ways in which collection resources are integrated into the researchers workflow is becoming critical for the optimal use of the materials. What tools do we have to support the information- seeking behavior of researchers and how do we support interactivity and immediacy of access?

30 Some strategies (contd) #3: As our parent institutions are changing, so must we. –Our collection needs to reflect the changing institution, such as: New areas of research; realignment of departments/programs; new forms of collaboration; impacts of interdisciplinarity; strategic programs for the institution; new student demographics; new information technologies –Being attuned to the institutional pulse, we are able to better argue for increased and targeted commitment to the library collection profile.

31 Some strategies (contd) #4: In the multi-format universe, we need to make strategic decisions about what formats we support –Our world of containers is becoming very volatile, fast-paced, and unpredictable –Which formats will best support the value we bring to our different audiences –Which formats can be best integrated into our technological infrastructure, and will be most usable –Thinking about this in relation to preservation, usability, and integration

32 Some strategies (contd) #5: Changing current practices will add value for our patrons –Disruption can be an opportunity for innovation and refocusing our efforts. –Important possibilities include patron-driven acquisition models, pay-per-view models, print-on- demand, and creating alternative scholarly publication models –Can we help develop non-library sources of funding to support the scholarly communications enterprise? –The just-in-case approach is giving way to just-in- time: delivering the item at the point of need.

33 Some strategies (contd) #6: We need to seek the right balance between competition and collaboration –We collaborate in numerous ways, eg consortial purchasing, interlibrary loan networks, shared cataloguing, etc. –But our institutions compete intensely for researchers, funding, and students: our institutions have agendas and interests on a very different plane –The line between competition and collaboration is a gray and shifting zone; the balance changes as organizations change

34 Some strategies (contd) #7: We need to seek creative partnerships with publishers and vendors –Our relationships with publishers and vendors are essential for success, eg discount agreements, selection of materials, ordering and physical processing workflows –These partnerships will evolve in relation to new opportunities and collection needs; they need us as much as we need them. –We need to maximize these relationships in relation to new technologies, new institutional directions, and the wide range of formats and specific collections & resources available.

35 Some strategies (contd) #8: We need to measure collection value in new ways –Accountability: how we determine return on investment is a question of signal importance to senior administrators and external stakeholders –The importance of promoting learning outcomes to measure tangible benefits of our collection activities, eg The ACRL Library Guidelines for Higher Education. –This can drive new indicators and insights into understanding the ways our collection meets research and teaching requirements – to demonstrate value.

36 Some strategies (contd) #9: We need to exploit our understanding of the collection to the best of our ability –Meeting curricular needs but also addressing the interdisciplinary nature of learning outcomes; recognizing the intellectual, cultural, and social needs of a diverse student body and professoriate –Linking the value of the collection to information competencies and analytical skills. –Usage statistics need to tell a compelling story; raw numbers arent enough.

37 Some strategies (contd) #10: Collection librarians need to expand their traditional skills and expertise –Developing a keen understanding of the scholarly communications, publishing and technological landscapes –A passion for exploring new forms of knowledge and new approaches to learning –Imagination, leadership and creativity in how we acquire and deliver information resources –An ability to build innovative bridges with our patron community –Being an agent of change, of course!

38 The New Normal New forms of delivery and integration will be key to defining collection value in the digital era As roles blur, we can re-imagine our role as collection managers in our institutions in new ways – as curators, collaborators, teachers, publishers, knowledge managers The digital library has become mainstream, but print will still be relevant in areas like humanities.

39 The New Normal Our collection investments need to be justified as never before, in the face of many competing alternatives Promoting a deep engagement with our collections will enable us to remain integral to scholarship and learning The cloud collection – everywhere and nowhere – is our new paradigm The future is highly dynamic and full of possibilities

40 Article references: Challenges and Possibilities for Collection Management in a Digital Age Library Resources and Technical Services 54 (3) July 2010: 142-52. Collection Management and Sustainability in the Digital Age: Chasing the Holy Grail Against the Grain 22 (6) January 2011: 22-27. Thanks! Any questions?

41 Sources Paul Mosher, Collection Development to Collection Management: Toward Stewardship of Library Resources Collection Management 4 no. 4 (1982): 45. Bonita Bryant, The Organizational Structure of Collection Development Library Resources and Technical Services 31 (1987): 118. Michael Gabriel, Collection Development and Evaluation: A Sourcebook (Lanham: MD: Scarecrow, 1995), 3.

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