ALCTS Role of the Professional Librarian in Technical Services Interest Group

RPLTS IG Midwinter 2012, Dallas, TX: Report

  • 1.  RPLTS IG Midwinter 2012, Dallas, TX: Report

    Posted Feb 21, 2012 04:40 PM

    ALCTS Role of the Professional Librarian in Technical Services Interest Group (RPLTS IG) Meeting

    ALA Midwinter 2012

    Saturday January 21, 2012 10:30 AM -12:00 PM

    Dallas Convention Center room D174


    Chairs: Erica Oliver, Douglas County Libraries, Castle Rock, Colorado and Shoko Tokoro, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

    Vice-Chairs: Allison Yanos, Baylor University and Charles McElroy, Florida State University

    Focus Speakers: Jane Smith , Coordinator of Electronic Resources, Texas A&M University and Eugenia Beh, Electronic Resources Librarian, Texas A&M University


    Report by Allison Yanos and Charles McElroy


    Co-chair Erica Olivier welcomed participants, introduced her co-chair, Shoko Tokoro, and the two focus speakers, Jane Smith and Eugenia Beh.  After the vice-chairs and last years’ chairs were introduced, Olivier asked the approximately 47 attendees to introduce themselves.

    PRESENTATION:  Perpetual Access: Peaks and Pitfalls

    Jane Smith and Eugenia Beh presented on issues associated with perpetual access and license issues with publishers.  First they discussed what perpetual access is, briefly talking about ownership vs. subscription models and current practice vs. the historical view.  The main part of their presentation focused on the review of 19 of Texas A&M University Libraries’ current licenses for major journal packages.  The speakers examined the licenses to see if publishers offered perpetual access rights and additionally undertook a survey of the publishers in order to clarify license clauses regarding access. Handouts were provided that included the survey questions, examples of actual perpetual access license clauses, and a table of the study’s data.  The table recorded whether perpetual access was given, in what format(s), any known fees, whether post-cancellation access was allowed through Portico or in other archiving services such as LOCKSS or CLOCKSS, who hosts when titles are transferred to another publisher, and any publisher replies.

    The presenters discovered that 17 of the 19 publishers in the study did allow perpetual access.  However, Beh and Smith noted that while most publishers are willing to offer perpetual access, they don’t always put it in the licenses.  Even if perpetual access is mentioned in the license, the license may not contain all of the pertinent details, and not all librarians are willing to ask the publishers about it.  Additionally, some licenses are several years old, and so may no longer be completely accurate in regards to perpetual access.

    Several of the most common perpetual access terms were:  1) publisher allows electronic non-searchable files in CD/DVD/hard drive formats; 2) publisher charges fee for ongoing online access only if the institution does not subscribe to at any of the publisher’s other titles; and 3) no cost to access previously subscribed content in Portico.  However, proof of paid content may be needed for third party hosting, such as what Portico provides. This is often a challenge given retention schedules for financial files—for example, the state of Texas requires public institutions to retain past invoices for only 3 years and then get rid of them.

    Beh and Smith then described how Texas A&M Libraries manage the perpetual access workflow.  They enter package codes into their ILS, maintain title lists for previous and current subscriptions, add back file information into the Holdings record in their ILS, and use an Access “to-do” list database to track needed SFX changes in SFX and to document title changes/transfers.  A diagram was shown of Texas A&M’s e-journal cancellation workflow, and the presenters discussed the impact of perpetual access on the Cataloging, Acquisitions, and Collection Development units.  In the future, Texas A&M plans to use CORAL—an open source ERM—to track perpetual access for individual titles in packages by having resource records for each title instead of having resource records for only licensed packages.

    The speakers concluded by asking some questions to prompt audience discussion:  1) How to budget for perpetual access in terms of fees and staff time? 2) Should lack of perpetual access be a deal breaker in license negotiation? 3) Is perpetual access worth it? 4) How do you handle perpetual access?  The following discussion also covered how audience members were providing access to non-searchable CDs/DVDs at their institutions (many said that the discs were just stacked on a desk or in a filing cabinet), if it was possible to put those files in an institutional repository or host on the library’s website, and how to deal with the preservation needs of older formats.  Some attendees noted that currently the provided ‘access’ is more of an archive than real perpetual access.  One audience member stated that her institution has used the fact that they have no way to host or provide access to the files as a reason to prevent cancelling titles.  The audience also discussed how to let other library staff, such as ILL staff, know the pertinent information—it was suggested to use ERM and a link resolver to show license clauses in the OPAC.   Another attendee suggested checking the contents of the archive files, as she discovered the provided files from one publisher just contained table of contents and the library would have to pay a fee in order to get the full text.  The session came to a close at 11:26 AM.



    Betsy Appleton (George Mason University) and Eugenia Beh were invited to join the business meeting.

    Shoko, Erica, Allison, Charles, Wanda, Jack, Betsy, and Eugenia met after the presentation to discuss topic ideas for the annual meeting.   Possible topics suggested mainly focused around the reorganization/restructuring of technical services, with the following possible subtopics mentioned: 1) using consultants such as R2; 2) where do metadata and digitization fit in best organizationally?; 3) professional vs. paraprofessional;  4) reclassification of job positions, including how to work with HR and sell to administration; 5) workflow design.

    It was decided among the group that an email be sent out to assess interest in the suggested session topics and to solicit possible presenters.

    The chairs shared that the overall ALA session schedule will likely be changed in the future, with sessions becoming shorter in length.