Conference Report — ALA Midwinter Meeting
January 23-26, 2009 — Denver, CO
A. Committee Work:
I’m a member of the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS), an ALA subdivision. In the Collection Management & Development Section (CMDS), I serve on the Collection Development and Electronic Resources (CDER) committee, which I will chair from July 2009 through June 2010. (Soon, I will be schooled in ALA protocols of note-taking, submitting program proposals, sponsoring e-forums, and the like, all of which will imbue in me the spirit of administration I thus far lack.) CDER had two scheduled activities:
1. CDER Committee Meeting Topics:
o preparations for CDER-sponsored program at 2009 Annual
o ALCTS E-Forum (we’ll host one in the Spring)
o brainstorming Program Topics for 2010 Annual
o CDER Committee Chair nominations and other member business
o professional matters on our minds (“It’s the economy, stupid”)
o CMDS Executive Board Discussion Topic: “Organizational Adaptability”
At ALA Annual in July, we’ll host a program entitled “Collecting for Digital Repositories: New Ways to Disseminate and Share Information,” in which speakers from institutional (Nebraska), disciplinary (NLM), and data (Johns Hopkins) repositories will present perspectives on the state of their endeavors. Our E-Forum probably will concern e-books, and the subject of our next program might be on “big deals”.
2. ALCTS Collection Development in Academic Libraries Discussion Group / CDER meeting:
CDER co-sponsored a meeting to discuss issues raised at the 2008 Charleston Conference; the topics were usage statistics and e-book issues. Eighty (80) people attended, a good turn-out for midwinter. Half the room gathered to speak on usage stats, the other on e-books. Topics included: policies on how usage statistics are used in collection development; methods of gathering usage stats; making sense of e-book packages; use of e-books by faculty & students; and models for academic libraries and consortia.
3. ALCTS CMDS Executive Board Meeting:
I sat in as CDER representative for our committee chair. The executive board has a secretary who takes exhaustive notes, so I was relieved of that burden. We spoke of the new web site, of past action items, and most importantly, of “organizational adaptability,” a topic proffered to all in ALCTS for discussion. Given the advancing age of ALA members, the relative dearth of new enrollees, and the structures of the current economy, ALA and all of its subgroups have to examine how they plan to do business in the future. We must reorganize to reflect the organization structures of contemporary libraries, and we must unbundle sections so librarians have the option of joining smaller groups.
B. Program Attendance:
I attended a few programs and discussion sessions before and after my committee chores.
1. ALCTS Continuing Resources Section College and Research Libraries Interest Group
— Peter McCracken (Co-founder & Director of Research, Serials Solutions): A KBART Update – Improving Patrons’ Access to Electronic Resources. UKSG commissioned a research report (Link Resolvers and the Serials Supply Chain) ‘to identify the new relationships and information exchange requirements … [necessary] to maximise the benefit of OpenURL linking.’ See the KBART report at: http://www.niso.org/workrooms/kbart.
— Beth R. Bernhardt (Electronic Resources Librarian, Univ. of North Carolina Greensboro): Dealing with Free E-Journals: Are they worth the effort? Sources for free journals: HighWire; Open J-gate; Scielo; EMIS.
— Nicole E. Engard (Open Source Evangelist, LibLime): Serials Management in KOHA’s open source library software.
2. CMDS Discussion Group for Practitioners — Open Forum:
For ninety minutes, thirty to forty people sat around a large table and traded stories on how they’re coping with tough economic times. It’s clear that ARL members worry that budget cuts directly attack the definition of their mission, to collect the entire work product of academe, and that state schools are suffering through the bleak vicissitudes of state budgets. One piece of news leap out at me: UMass-Amherst will reduce its book budget over the next two years by 83%. Concomitantly, the Five Colleges will create a shared approval plan to address book buying jointly. This development displays a response/counter-response I hope is noted by NExpress members!
C. Roaming the Exhibits:
I don’t roam exhibits very well, as it smacks too much of shopping. Instead, I look for people I know to trade information with. All of this is done expeditiously–and free samples are avoided, for I hate to carry anything. However, I did have a chore to perform. I sought out the makers of BSCAN (http://www.dlsg.net/bscan.shtml), production capture software that permits staff to collapse steps in the article ILL lending process and thus improve workflow and efficiency. We’ve been in contact with DLGS, the parent company, so I met with them to follow up on our mail messages and to look at the WideTEK scanners firsthand. Interlibrary Loan has submitted an equipment request for a BSCAN/WideTEK set-up, which would cost between $17,000 and $23,000 one-time monies and $1500 to $2000 per year maintenance fees. (These prices are quotations–we haven’t pushed back on the numbers.) This request is a long-shot, to be sure, but it’s helpful to record unit aspirations so others may see in what direction we wish to grow.