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DLS DG Notes from ALA Midwinter 2012


ACRL’s Distance Learning Section’s Discussion Group


ALA Midwinter 2012, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012, 10:30-Noon

Notes from the discussion

I.  Visit from candidates running for ACRL Vice-President

Debbie Malone and Trevor Dawes each spoke briefly about what they would strive to accomplish should they be elected Vice-President of ACRL. (Note: I had difficulty hearing the candidates and, therefore, did not endeavor to take notes about the content of their talks).

II. Announcements

  1. Bryna Coonin, one of the members of the editorial board of Internet Reference Services Quarterly, announced that the journal has a column that would be an ideal forum for sharing ideas and information about how the Internet can be used to deliver reference services to distance patrons. She stated that although the column is not peer-reviewed, it has the benefit of a quick turn-around time from submission to publication.

  1. Cynthia Porter, Chair of DLS’ Discussion Group, announced that she is planning to continue today’s discussion virtually and would also like the group to have additional discussions virtually. She asked the group for ideas about what platform would work best for these discussions. She mentioned several possibilities: (1) ALA Connect, (2) Facebook, (3) a listserv dedicated to these discussions - similar to what the ALCTS e-forum does (two day discussions with summaries at the end of each day).
    • Several attendees suggested using OFFCAMP-L for these discussions
    • Cynthia said that we will try it and see how it goes.

    III.  Discussion: “What ILL services are we providing and how are we getting the word out about these services”

    • Cynthia began the discussion by mentioning that one of the members of the DLS DG works at a library that is just starting an ILL program. . That person has said that it is hard to get the word out about the ILL program and is curious to know what others are doing to get the word out. That person’s library mails articles but not books. For books they recommend that the patron go to a local library.

    • Angela Whitehurst described Eastern Carolina University’s ILL service
      • They use ILLiad.
      • They ship materials via 2 day UPS ground and pay for both sending and returning. They only ship to addresses outside the county. They will even ship overseas. They try to ship whatever is needed.
      • They treat anything from their library as document delivery.
      • They use the same ILLiad forms for traditional ILL and for document delivery. They have customized ILLiad so that one of the patron types is distance education student. Those patrons can select DE delivery for books.
      • There return rate for shipped materials is good.
      • If someone requests something that the library wants to add to the collection, they purchase it through Amazon.

    • Question: “When we specify that a patron must be a distance patron, what do we mean? How do we determine if a patron is a distance patron?”

    •  
      • A participant recommended making it as easy as possible and allowing anyone to say they are a distance patron.
      • Mark de Jong from UMUC mentioned that some consortia have policies that restrict shipping to individuals who do not meet a particular definition of “distance.”
      • A participant noted that it can be very difficult to determine who is a distance patron since there are now so many hybrid classes (part in-person, part online) and so many people enrolled in continuing education programs but taking classes on campus.
      • Ellen Neuhaus from the University of Northern Iowa noted that they allow students to register as a continuing scholar when they are ABD. They pay a low fee and continue to use distance learning ILL services.

    • Question: “How can libraries cope with the costs of shipping materials to distance patrons?”

    •  
      • Mark de Jong from UMUC stated that most lending libraries do not like to directly deliver their materials to patrons. They prefer shipping to the borrowing library first and then having the library send to the patron. Thus, it can be quite costly to provide delivery services to distance patrons. He recommends that libraries analyze these costs and purchase materials for patrons to keep permanently (e.g., via Amazon) when doing so would save the library money.
      • Angela Whitehurst noted that ECU examined the cost of shipping books to distance patrons and found that they spent ~$7,000 to ship and return 800 books.
      • A participant recommended that libraries establish reciprocal lending arrangements so students can use whatever library they are near.
      • A participant and Mark de Jong  mentioned that their ILL request system allows patrons to request book chapters. The library scans these and delivers them as they do electronic articles.
      • Stephanie Buck from Oregon State University mentioned that they have purchased an e-book (via e-campus) for a distance student in Cameroon rather than pay to ship the print copy they own.
      • Mark de Jong from UMUC stated that he had his tech guy create its own DRM protection tools so his library can deal directly with publishers rather than go through an intermediate service like Overdrive. It took his tech guy 6 weeks to do this.
      • Mark de Jong from UMUC recommends that libraries look for consortial discounts with UPS and FedEx. He helped the entire state of Maryland negotiate a contract with a discounted rate.

    • Question: “Who is doing patron driven acquistion?”

    •  
      • Rosalind Tedford from Wake Forest University stated that they are doing PDA. They purchase an item after the 5th use. Nothing under 5 minutes counts as a use. She said that this has not bankrupted them. She is not sure whether or not it has reduced the number of ILL requests.
      • A participant suggested that libraries immediately trigger a purchase of a PDA book when an ILL request is made for it.

    • Cynthia Porter posed a question, “What are we doing to advertise ILL services?”

    •  
      • Stephanie Buck from OSU stated that many students do not want anything but immediate full text. She stated that attempts to get the word out about ILL are not always effective. She recommends going through advisors.
      • Lorna Newman from the University of Cincinnati stated that they are trying to figure out how to identify which students are distance students so they can promote services to them.
      • A participant suggested posting information about ILL services inside Learning Management Systems such as Blackboard.
      • Rosalind Tedford from Wake Forest University suggested providing an orientation for distance education students and promoting ILL services during the orientation.
      • Anne Marie Short from Shawnee State University recommended developing a Libguide specifically for distance learners.

    • A participant stated that their campus does not understand that some students never come to campus. The campus requires that anyone needing to change a password come to campus to do so.

    •  
      • Mark de Jong from UMUC stated that their students get virtual IDs which can be printed via PeopleSoft. He had to inform Maryland’s council of library directors that this was being offered so that other libraries would honor these printed IDs.
      • Angela Whitehurst from ECU stated that students at ECU can use any of 16 libraries in North Carolina. The students are allowed to print ID cards, but some of the other universities would not honor the cards. She noted that the cards must look official to be accepted by other libraries.

    • Stephanie Buck from OSU asked “How do we let students know about our awesome services?”
      • Stephanie noted that OSU holds webinars via Adobe Connect to explain everything the distance students need to know. These webinars last 1.5 hours. She also provides 4 additional, more in-depth webinars. She promotes the webinars through instructors, advisors, and their e-campus newsletter. Some instructors are requiring that students attend a webinar. She is recording the webinars. She lets all the students know it is being recorded and makes all of them acknowledge that they understand it will be shared. She provides the recording to everyone who signs up for the webinar. She recommends these webinars because students pose questions that she can answer to the benefit of all the attendees.
      • A participant asked if it is better to use webinars or libguides.
        • A participant answered that it is good to use both.
      • A participant asked Stephanie if her promotional efforts have boosted the number of interactions or ILL requests?
        • Stephanie replied that she doesn’t think it has very much.
        • Several others indicated that they suspect it probably increases students’ willingness to use library services.

    • Mark de Jong from UMUC stated that UMUC switched the entire Undergraduate curriculum to 8 week terms. This switch was motivated by the schedule of the military. Because of this, a matter of days becomes critical. With 8 week terms downloadable books become vital. They use ebrary and EBL. The average length of time it takes to deliver articles via ILL is very short.

    • Stephanie Buck from OSU asked “How can we help students in other countries?”

    •  
      • Mark de Jong from UMUC recommends purchasing the books they request for them rather than spend money shipping materials back and forth.

    • Cynthia Porter from A.T. Still University stated that she is embedded in classes. She tells students to e-mail her if they can’t get an article. She then submits the request via Docline on their behalf.

    •  
      • A participant asked if this can be done in ILLiad.
        • A participant answered that the law requires that users are notified of copyright restrictions.

    • Jason Coleman from Kansas State University asked, “How are you all handling requests for textbooks?”

    •  
      • A participant said that they would like to lend them, but the problem is that students often do not return them.
      • A participant said that NC State buys one copy of every textbook for the libraries.
      • Mark de Jong from UMUC said that they have imported the textbook list into their ILL system so that whenever someone requests a textbook they (UMUC libraries) will know.  They tell the students that they will not lend textbooks. If the students want it and are not using it as a textbook, they do lend it. It is on the honor system.
      • A participant asked if faculty are getting around the textbook problem by using e-reserves.
        • A participant mentioned that the Copyright Clearance Center has an option for putting a book on e-reserve.
        • Rosalind Tedford from Wake Forest University said that they contact the professor if they request that a book be put on e-reserve and the copyright fees exceed a certain amount.

    • Question: “Does anyone track how much their e-reserves are used?”
      • A participant said that the ARES e-reserves management system tracks how much e-reserves are used.
      • A participant said that to avoid e-reserves fees we should teach faculty and students how to get to the item without putting it on reserves.
      • A participant said they won’t put locally owned items into e-reserves.
      • A participant said they tell faculty that they will put up to 5 articles on e-reserve and that if they want more, she will teach the students how to search for articles.
      • Cynthia Porter from A.T. Still University said that they ask their faculty to pay for the copyright clearance fees required for e-reserves.
      • Mark de Jong from UMUC recommends that all libraries create in advance a legal defense they can use if they are ever taken to court over copyright issues.

    IV.  Ideas for discussion topic for ALA Annual

    • Cynthia Porter asked for suggestions for the discussion topic at ALA Annual. Suggestions included:
      • Staffing reference for distance education
      • Assessment for online instruction
      • Mobile sites
      • Webscale Discovery
      • Creative funding
      • Role of liaison librarians in supporting distance learners

Notes submitted by Jason Coleman

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