University of Minnesota Launches the Digital Conservancy

The University of Minnesota has launched its institutional repository, the Digital Conservancy. It utilizes DSpace.

Here's a description from the University Digital Conservancy FAQ page:

The University Digital Conservancy is a program of the University of Minnesota, administered by the University Libraries. The program provides stewardship, reliable long-term open access, and broad dissemination of the digital scholarly and administrative works of University of Minnesota faculty, departments, centers and offices. Materials in the Conservancy are freely available online to the University community and to the public.

Here are selected web pages about the Digital Conservancy:

Cornell Joins Google Books Library Project

The Cornell University Library has joined the Google Books Library Project.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Google will digitize up to 500,000 works from Cornell University Library and make them available online using Google Book Search. As a result, materials from the library’s exceptional collections will be easily accessible to students, scholars and people worldwide, supporting the library’s long-standing commitment to make its collections broadly available.

“Research libraries today are integral partners in the academic enterprise through their support of research, teaching and learning. They also serve a public good by enhancing access to the works of the world's best minds,” said Interim University Librarian Anne R. Kenney. “As a major research library, Cornell University Library is pleased to join its peer institutions in this partnership with Google. The outcome of this relationship is a significant reduction in the time and effort associated with providing scholarly full-text resources online.”

Materials from Mann Library, one of 20 member libraries that comprise Cornell University Library, will be digitized as part of the agreement. Mann’s collections include some of the following subject areas: biological sciences, natural resources, plant, animal and environmental sciences, applied economics, management and public policy, human development, textiles and apparel, nutrition and food science.. . .

Cornell is the 27th institution to join the Google Book Search Library Project, which digitizes books from major libraries and makes it possible for Internet users to search their collections online. Over the next six years, Cornell will provide Google with public domain and copyrighted holdings from its collections. If a work has no copyright restrictions, the full text will be available for online viewing. For books protected by copyright, users will just get the basic background (such as the book’s title and the author’s name), at most a few lines of text related to their search and information about where they can buy or borrow a book. Cornell University Library will work with Google to choose materials that complement the contributions of the project’s other partners. In addition to making the materials available through its online search service, Google will also provide Cornell with a digital copy of all the materials scanned, which will eventually be incorporated into the university’s own digital library.

BioMed Central Replies to Yale

On Sunday, DigitalKoans reported that Yale had canceled its BioMed Central membership. Today, BioMed Central has replied to the Yale posting about that decision.

Here's an excerpt from the BioMed Central posting:

The main concern expressed in the library's announcement is that the amount payable to cover the cost of publications by Yale researchers in BioMed Central's journals has increased significantly, year on year. Looking at the rapid growth of BioMed Central's journals, it is not difficult to see why that is the case. BioMed Central's success means that more and more researchers (from Yale and elsewhere) are submitting to our journals each year.


An increase in the number of open access articles being submitted and going on to be published does lead to an increase in the total cost of the open access publishing service provided by BioMed Central, but the cost per article published in BioMed Central's journals represents excellent value compared to other publishers.

The Yale library announcement notes that it paid $31,625 to cover the cost of publication in BioMed Central's journals by their authors in 2006, and that the anticipated cost in 2007 will be higher. But to put this into context, according to the Association of Research Library statistics, Yale spent more than $7m on serial subscriptions. Nonetheless, we do recognize that library budgets are very tight and that supporting the rapid growth of open access publishing out of library budgets alone may not be possible. . . .

If library budgets were the only source of funding to cover the cost of open access publication, this would be a significant obstacle. Fortunately, however, there are other sources of funding that are helping to accelerate the transition to open access. . . .

The Wellcome Trust report estimated that on average the cost associated with publishing a peer-reviewed research article is less than $3000, and further estimated that this represented only 1-2% of the typical investment by a funder in carrying out the research that led to the article. It is not surprising therefore, that major biomedical research funders such as NIH and HHMI now encourage open access publication, and are willing to provide financial support for it. BioMed Central's list of biomedical funder open access policies provides further information.

Authors may, of course, pay articles from their own grant funds, and around half of articles published in BioMed Central journals are indeed paid for in this way. However, relying on authors to pay for the cost of open access publication themselves puts open access journals at a significant disadvantage compared to traditional journals, which are supported centrally through library budgets, and so are often perceived to be 'free' by authors.

That is why BioMed Central introduced its institutional membership scheme, which allows institutions to centrally support the dissemination of open access research in the same way that they centrally support subscription journals, thereby creating a 'level playing field'.

In order to ensure that funding of open access publication is sustainable, we have encouraged institutions to set aside a small fraction of the indirect funding contribution that they receive from funders to create a central open access fund.

Over the last several months, BioMed Central has hosted workshops on the issue of sustainable funding for open access at the UK's Association of Research Manager's and Administrators annual conference and at the Medical Library Association's meeting in Philadelphia [see report]. Further such workshops are planned.

In this way, by helping research funders, administrators, VPs of research and librarians to work together to provide sustainable funding channels for open access, we aim to "provide a viable long-term revenue base built upon logical and scalable options", as called for in statement fromYale's library. . . .

We look forward to working with librarians and research administrators at Yale to develop a solution that will make it as easy as possible for Yale's researchers to continue publish their open access research articles in BioMed Central's journals.

Yale Cancels BioMed Central Membership

Except for current submissions, Yale’s Cushing/Whitney Medical and Kline Science Libraries have stopped funding author fees for Yale faculty who publish papers in BioMed Central journals. According to ARL statistics, the Yale spent $7,705,342 on serials in 2005-06, which raises the question: If Yale can’t afford to support BioMed Central, what academic library can?

Here’s an excerpt from the Yale posting:

The libraries’ BioMedCentral membership represented an opportunity to test the technical feasibility and the business model of this OA publisher. While the technology proved acceptable, the business model failed to provide a viable long-term revenue base built upon logical and scalable options. Instead, BioMedCentral has asked libraries for larger and larger contributions to subsidize their activities. Starting with 2005, BioMed Central page charges cost the libraries $4,658, comparable to a single biomedicine journal subscription. The cost of page charges for 2006 then jumped to $31,625. The page charges have continued to soar in 2007 with the libraries charged $29,635 through June 2007, with $34,965 in potential additional page charges in submission.

As we deal with unprecedented increases in electronic resources, we have had to make hard choices about which resources to keep. At this point we can no longer afford to support the BioMedCentral model.

(Thanks to Open Access News.)

ACRL/ARL Regional Institute on Scholarly Communication

The ACRL/ARL Regional Institute on Scholarly Communication, to be held December 5-7, 2007 at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is accepting applicants starting August 1, 2007. Enrollment is limited to 100 participants, and it is competitive. The application deadline is September 14, 2007.

Here's an excerpt from the Institute's Web page:

The Association of Research Libraries and Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) are pleased to announce a regional Institute for Scholarly Communication in Illinois sponsored by the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois. The Institute is an immersive learning experience to prepare participants as local experts within their libraries and equip them with tools for developing campus outreach strategies. As a participant in this 2.5 day immersion program, you will become fluent with scholarly communication issues and trends so that you are positioned to educate others on your library staff, engage in campus communications programs and other advocacy efforts, and work collaboratively with other participants to begin developing an outreach plan for your campus.

Participants will work with experts in the field to understand how to better engage faculty at their institution around the crisis in the systems of scholarly communication. You will also learn about the emergence of new models for scholarly communication as well as strategies for creating systemic change. These will include:

  • Faculty activism (e.g. editorial board control, author rights, copyright management, and self-archiving)
  • New publishing models
  • Digital repositories
  • Legislative and policy advocacy

The goal is to help participants prepare a program plan that is customized for their institution. To achieve this goal you will prepare an environmental scan before the institute, engage in a series of active learning experiences during the event, and write an outreach program plan for implementation at your home institution. . . .

Institutions and participants from Illinois will receive preferred consideration; however, space will also be reserved from those outside of Illinois. The institute sponsor is seeking participation from a wide range of academic libraries from community colleges to large research institutions. Team applications are encouraged (up to three participants from a campus), particularly for larger institutions, although individual applications will also be considered. Recognizing the challenges smaller institutions face in participating in the institute and the value of their contributions to outreach efforts, small institutions will not be penalized in the selection process if they are able to fund only individual participants rather than teams.

ARL’s Library Brown-Bag Lunch Series: Issues in Scholarly Communication

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has released a series of discussion guides for academic librarians to use with faculty. The guides are under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license.

Here’s an excerpt from the guides’ web page:

This series of Discussion Leader’s Guides can serve as a starting point for a single discussion or for a series of conversations. Each guide offers prework and discussion questions along with resources that provide further background for the discussion leader of an hour-long session.

Using the discussion guides, library leaders can launch a program quickly without requiring special expertise on the topics. A brown-bag series could be initiated by a library director, a group of staff, or by any staff person with an interest in the scholarly communication system. The only requirements are the willingness to organize the gatherings and facilitate each meeting’s discussion.

CIC’s Digitization Contract with Google

Library Journal Academic Newswire has published a must-read article ("Questions Emerge as Terms of the CIC/Google Deal Become Public") about the Committee on Institutional Cooperation’s Google Book Search Library Project contract.

The article includes quotes from Peter Brantley, Digital Library Federation Executive Director, from his "Monetizing Libraries" posting about the contract (another must-read piece).

Here’s an excerpt from Brantley’s posting:

In other words—pretty much, unless Google ceases business operations, or there is a legal ruling or agreement with publishers that expressly permits these institutions (excepting Michigan and Wisconsin which have contracts of precedence) to receive digitized copies of In-Copyright material, it will be held in escrow until such time as it becomes public domain.

That could be a long wait. . . .

In an article early this year in The New Yorker, "Google’s Moon Shot," Jeffrey Toobin discusses possible outcomes of the antagonism this project has generated between Google and publishers. Paramount among them, in his mind, is a settlement. . . .

A settlement between Google and publishers would create a barrier to entry in part because the current litigation would not be resolved through court decision; any new entrant would be faced with the unresolved legal issues and required to re-enter the settlement process on their own terms. That, beyond the costs of mass digitization itself, is likely to deter almost any other actor in the market.

Nontraditional Professionals in Research Libraries

There is an interesting article by Stanley Wilder in the "Careers" section of the February 23, 2007 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education ("The New Library Professional").

Using 2005 data, he notes that 23% of the professionals in ARL libraries are in nontraditional positions (e.g., development, human resources, and IT), and 39% of under-35 professionals are in these type of positions. In this under-35 group, 24% of nontraditional professionals earn $54,000 (or more). Forty-seven percent of under-35 computer professionals make $50,000 or more. (Needless to say, traditional librarians have not done as well salary-wise, leading to equity concerns.) The number of professionals who do not have an MLS has skyrocketed by 142% since 1985.

I wonder if there are significant differences in this trend by ARL library rank, with it being stronger at more larger, more affluent libraries or at libraries in private institutions.

My own experience during the last 20 years or so at a small public ARL library was that it was a constant struggle to get approval for new computer professional positions; to be able to recruit at salaries that, while not truly competitive, were at least not laughable; to upgrade existing positions so that they more adequately reflected job duties and marketplace values; and to retain staff. This was more difficult for non-MLS professionals than for MLS professionals.

More than once I, as an Assistant Dean/Director of Systems, had to take direct responsibility for Web support because of lengthy recruitment difficulties, including one two-year stretch where I did 100% of all Web support work in addition to my normal duties (I also ran the branch libraries for one year of that period). As an Assistant Dean for Digital Library Planning and Development, I had no staff and no prospect of getting any.

At some research libraries, non-MLS professionals may find that they have no career path or a short one. Taking computer professionals as an example, the issue is how far up the hierarchy can non-MLS professionals go before they hit the "must have an accredited MLS" ceiling? Can they become unit heads, department heads, ADs, or Deans/Directors? The answer may vary by library. Another issue is, generous salaries aside, are nontraditional professionals treated as second-class citizens in other ways than advancement (e.g., they may not be given the same level of support for professional travel and activities, especially if MLS librarians have faculty or faculty-like status and are adequately supported in their efforts to move up the academic ranks). Given that 39% of under-35 professionals are in nontraditional jobs, these are important issues to address, especially if Boomer librarians manage to retire en masse as some predict. It would not be a pretty sight to have Boomers heading out the door just as younger nontraditional librarians bump their heads on the MLS ceiling and start considering other career options.

This is a liminal period for research libraries, and, to a significant degree, nontraditional staff will determine their future success.

Source: Wilder, Stanley. "The New Library Professional." The Chronicle of Higher Education, 23 February 2007, C1, C4.

Know Your Copy Rights Initiative

The Association of Research Libraries and Peggy Hoon, Scholarly Communication Librarian at the North Carolina State University Libraries, have established the Know Your Copy Rights initiative "for librarians who are developing positive educational programs for academic users of copyrighted materials in US not-for-profit institutions."

A variety of useful documents are available (and more are being developed): "Assessing Campus Copyright Education Needs & Opportunities," "Know Your Copy Rights—What You Can Do" (faculty brochure), and "Using Copyrighted Works in Your Teaching—FAQ: Questions Faculty and Teaching Assistants Need to Ask Themselves Frequently."

Managing Digitization Activities, SPEC Kit 294

The Association of Research Libraries has published Managing Digitization Activities, SPEC Kit 294. The table of contents and executive summary are freely available.

Here are some highlights from the announcement:

This survey was distributed to the 123 ARL member libraries in February 2006. Sixty-eight libraries (55%) responded to the survey, of which all but two (97%) reported having engaged in digitization activities. Only one respondent reported having begun digitization activities prior to 1992; five other pioneers followed in 1992. From 1994 through 1998 there was a steady increase in the number of libraries beginning digital initiatives; 30 joined the pioneers at the rate of three to six a year. There was a spike of activity at the turn of the millennium that reached a high in 2000, when nine libraries began digital projects. Subsequently, new start-ups have slowed, with only an additional one to five libraries beginning digitization activities each year.

The primary factor that influenced the start up of digitization activities was the availability of grant funding (39 responses or 59%). Other factors that influenced the commencement of these activities were the addition of new staff with related skills (50%), staff receiving training (44%), the decision to use digitization as a preservation option (42%), and the availability of gift monies (29%). . . . .

Only four libraries reported that their digitization activities are solely ongoing functions; the great majority (60 or 91%) reported that their digitization efforts are a combination of ongoing library functions and discrete, finite projects.

ARL Institutional Repositories SPEC Kit

The Institutional Repositories SPEC Kit is now available from the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). This document presents the results of a thirty-eight-question survey of 123 ARL members in early 2006 about their institutional repositories practices and plans. The survey response rate was 71% (87 out of 123 ARL members responded). The front matter and nine-page Executive Summary are freely available. The document also presents detailed question-by-question results, a list of respondent institutions, representative documents from institutions, and a bibliography. It is 176 pages long.

Here is the bibliographic information: University of Houston Libraries Institutional Repository Task Force. Institutional Repositories. SPEC Kit 292. Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries, 2006. ISBN: 1-59407-708-8.

The members of the University of Houston Libraries Institutional Repository Task Force who authored the document were Charles W. Bailey, Jr. (Chair); Karen Coombs; Jill Emery (now at UT Austin); Anne Mitchell; Chris Morris; Spencer Simons; and Robert Wright.

The creation of a SPEC Kit is a highly collaborative process. SPEC Kit Editor Lee Anne George and other ARL staff worked with the authors to refine the survey questions, mounted the Web survey, analyzed the data in SPSS, created a preliminary summary of survey question responses, and edited and formatted the final document. Given the amount of data that the survey generated, this was no small task. The authors would like to thank the ARL team for their hard work on the SPEC Kit.

Although the Executive Summary is much longer than the typical one (over 5,100 words vs. about 1,500 words), it should not be mistaken for a highly analytic research article. Its goal was to try to describe the survey’s main findings, which was quite challenging given the amount of survey data available. The full data is available in the "Survey Questions and Responses" section of the SPEC Kit.

Here are some quick survey results:

  • Thirty-seven ARL institutions (43% of respondents) had an operational IR (we called these respondents implementers), 31 (35%) were planning one by 2007, and 19 (22%) had no IR plans.
  • Looked at from the perspective of all 123 ARL members, 30% had an operational IR and, by 2007, that figure may reach 55%.
  • The mean cost of IR implementation was $182,550.
  • The mean annual IR operation cost was $113,543.
  • Most implementers did not have a dedicated budget for either start-up costs (56%) or ongoing operations (52%).
  • The vast majority of implementers identified first-level IR support units that had a library reporting line vs. one that had a campus IT or other campus unit reporting line.
  • DSpace was by far the most commonly used system: 20 implementers used it exclusively and 3 used it in combination with other systems.
  • Proquest DigitalCommons (or the Bepress software it is based on) was the second choice of implementers: 7 implementers used this system.
  • While 28% of implementers have made no IR software modifications to enhance its functionality, 22% have made frequent changes to do so and 17% have made major modifications to the software.
  • Only 41% of implementers had no review of deposited documents. While review by designated departmental or unit officials was the most common method (35%), IR staff reviewed documents 21% of the time.
  • In a check all that apply question, 60% of implementers said that IR staff entered simple metadata for authorized users and 57% said that they enhanced such data. Thirty-one percent said that they cataloged IR materials completely using local standards.
  • In another check all that apply question, implementers clearly indicated that IR and library staff use a variety of strategies to recruit content: 83% made presentations to faculty and others, 78% identified and encouraged likely depositors, 78% had library subject specialists act as advocates, 64% offered to deposit materials for authors, and 50% offered to digitize materials and deposit them.
  • The most common digital preservation arrangement for implementers (47%) was to accept any file type, but only preserve specified file types using data migration and other techniques. The next most common arrangement (26%) was to accept and preserve any file type.
  • The mean number of digital objects in implementers’ IRs was 3,844.

ARL Institutional Repositories, Version 2

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) currently has 123 member libraries in the US and Canada. Below is an update of an earlier list of operational institutional repositories at ARL libraries.

Scholarly Communication Web Sites and Weblogs at ARL Libraries (Version 2)

This posting updates and considerably expands my earlier "Scholarly Communication Web Sites at ARL Libraries" posting.

It presents a list of scholarly communication Web sites and Weblogs at the academic member libraries of the Association of Research Libraries. Web sites and Weblogs were identified using separate Google "site:" searches for the exact phrases "scholarly communication" and "open access." Search results were then scanned to identify Web sites or Weblogs that appeared to be intended as the main library’s primary means of communicating to the university community about scholarly communication and/or open access issues. Conferences, presentations, newsletter articles, symposiums, and similar materials were excluded, as were Web sites or Weblogs at branch libraries. Searching was limited to the first few pages of search results.

Additions and corrections are welcome. Use the "Leave a Comment" function for this.

ETD Archives at ARL Libraries

This posting lists electronic theses and dissertation archives at ARL libraries that were not included in the prior "ETD Policies and Procedures at ARL Institutions" posting. The archives listed here do not include substantial ETD policy and procedure information; however, some sites provide links to more limited supporting information, such as formatting guidelines. In some cases, archives are identified here for institutions included in the prior posting because the ETD site in that posting did not include an archive link. To get a complete list of ETD archives, consult both postings. In some cases, ARL libraries do not separate out ETDs as a separate material type listing (e.g. DSpace community). Such integrated archives are not included here.

ETD Policies and Procedures at ARL Institutions

What electronic theses and dissertation (ETD) policies and procedures are in use in major North American research institutions?

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) currently has 123 member libraries in the US and Canada. Below is a list of Web sites at ARL institutions that provide significant information about these institutions’ ETD policies and procedures. Some of these Web pages are on the library’s Website; some are on other university components’ Websites. This list was complied by a quick look at ARL libraries’ home pages, supplemented by limited institution-specific Google searching. Since these Websites can be difficult to find, this is likely to be partial list of relevant Websites. Please leave information about other relevant Websites in comments.

The Counting Game

Let’s say you run a research library and you have JSTOR. You are convinced that JSTOR is a safe, permanent electronic archive that fully substitutes for the included print journal volumes. It makes sense to take a second look at those print volumes. It’s a large number of volumes, and space (as always) is tight. What to do? You could withdraw them, you could put them in remote storage, or you could do nothing.

A question that might come to mind is: What impact will withdrawing these volumes have on my volume count? And, if your library is in ARL, a second question might be: what impact would withdrawing these volumes have on my ARL ranking?

Of course, if you are at one of the very top-tier libraries, this might be the proverbial drop in the bucket. If not, it might have an effect, possibly a big effect if you are at the bottom of the rankings.

Another interesting twist comes when the same questions come to bear on cooperative print archives. The idea is that a group of libraries band together and put one archival copy of book or journal volumes in a collective print repository, freeing up a considerable amount of collective space. Perhaps it’s in response to a shift to electronic access, or perhaps it’s based on low usage. In either case, one archival copy is stored safe and sound for that someday when it might be needed.

Makes sense—until you play the counting game.

The problem with the counting game in the emerging electronic era is figuring out how to count electronic "holdings" so that they have the same weight as print holdings. This is make especially tricky by the fact that libraries do not own licensed electronic resources, only "rent" them. What’s held one year may not be held the next due to a wide variety of factors, making counting a bit more difficult than just adding this year’s new purchases to last year’s volume counts.

Like it or not, research libraries are unlikely to stop playing the counting game. ARL’s E-Metrics project is one attempt to define meaningful new measures. In the long run, the counting game will have new rules, because it appears that the substitution of electronic information for print information is gaining momentum, driven by a variety of budgetary and other factors.

Strategic Planning Efforts at ARL Libraries, Part 2

How do some of the largest libraries in North America see their near-term future? This is part two of an investigation of that question. (Also see: Strategic Planning Efforts at ARL Libraries, Part 1.)

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) currently has 123 member libraries in the US and Canada. Below is a partial list of strategic planning Web sites at ARL libraries. This list was complied by a quick look at ARL libraries’ home pages, supplemented by limited site-specific Google searching. Web sites were included if the library’s strategic plan included the years 2004 and/or 2005.

Strategic Planning Efforts at ARL Libraries, Part 1

How do some of the largest libraries in North America see their near-term future?

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) currently has 123 member libraries in the US and Canada. Below is a partial list of strategic planning Web sites at ARL libraries. This list was complied by a quick look at ARL libraries’ home pages, supplemented by limited site-specific Google searching. Web sites were included if the library’s strategic plan included the years 2004 and/or 2005.

Scholarly Communication Web Sites at ARL Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) currently has 123 member libraries in the US and Canada. Below is a list of scholarly communication web sites at ARL libraries. This list was complied by a quick examination of ARL libraries’ home pages, supplemented by some Google searching. It’s not comprehensive, and I would welcome additions.

ARL Institutional Repositories

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) currently has 123 member libraries in the US and Canada. Below is a list of operational institutional repositories at ARL libraries. This list was complied by a quick examination of ARL libraries’ home pages, supplemented with a bit of Google searching. I certainly wouldn’t claim that it’s comprehensive, and I would welcome additions. (Quick note to ARL library Web site managers: put a highly visible link to your IR on your home page.)

While not perfect (what is?), this list does give us a rough snapshot of the level of IR activity in ARL libraries, and it provides some insight into how these large research libraries have chosen to structure and support their IRs (can you say bepress and DSpace?).

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