Tag Archives: ALA

Reference Publishers Debate Single Platform

On the Friday of the ALAMW Conference, the Independent Reference Publishers Group met for a panel presentation/discussion on using one single platform to host all reference content.  It was an interesting discussion.  I’ve summarized the panel in my notes below.

Independent Reference Publishers Group Meeting

Friday, January 23, 2009

Representatives from the following organizations were in attendance: Choice, CQ Press, Omnigraphics, Sharpe, ifactory, Sage, Salem, Neal Schumann, ABC-CLIO, Rosen, Credo Reference, Serials Solutions, NISO, Booklist, CHOICE, Wright State University.

The theme of this meeting and panel discussion was instituting a single platform for electronic reference content. Sue Polanka from WSU started things off with her wish list and each publisher had a chance to respond.

Sue Polanka — Wright State University

One day I’d like to purchase/license all of my reference content, regardless of publisher, and load it on the platform of my choice for the best cross searching available. This platform could be an existing one, like GVRL, Credo, ebrary, EBL, NetLibrary, etc. or some shareware, something developed by libraries. Benefits to patrons and librarians include: Greater access, more content, single search interface for ease of use and discoverabilty, easy to implement in library instruction and on web sites. These systems need to have unlimited simultaneous use, 24/7 access, with no DRM or other restrictions on downloading or printing, the most multimedia available during today’s expensive economic times and an actual ebook price, up front, would be appreciated.

Todd Carpenter – NISO

One platform has barriers to interoperability and they are bigger than technological, as in political and economic. [barriers shouldn’t prevent us from trying to do this. IRPG would be a good venue to discuss this. Seems like publishers would want to do this for reasons of — more exposure, and less cost of producing pricey interfaces — has anyone ever heard of epub or the IDPF? SP]

Peter McCracken — Serials Solutions

Federated products are often a starting point for research and therefore have an opportunity to have a reference role. The current design doesn’t work best for the patron since they get mostly articles. Somehow relevance needs to be a factor to assign tags to reference and get them to the top. We need to use field mapping more effectively. [I prefer a pre-indexed approach since federated products tend to be slow. Publishers/aggregators should take advantage of all metadata and tag reference items appropriately. If federated products are used, the reference content should be faceted as “overview material” or “background information.” SP]

Rolf Janke — Sage Reference

Publishers still have an infrastructure that supports print publishing.  The infrastructure is a difficult component to downsize in favor of doing more digital publishing. Print is a one size fits all model yet e publishing is not so, publishers have a multitude of business models, interfaces, features, etc.  The concept of a one size fits all platform for all publishers content is way ahead of its time, publishers currently could never agree on a standard business model. Pricing standards could help, but are not likely. [Gee, these must be the political and economic barriers that Todd was referring to? Looks like publishers could learn about collaboration from libraries. SP]

Ron Boehm — ABC-CLIO

Publishers need to invest in new things while maintaining our print production, which is expensive for publishers, particularly in these bad economic times. Right now we need to do both [e and p] or we would lose half of our business. The best strategy for ebooks is to have unlimited access. Ron supports the idea of publishers working with multiple aggregators or distributors to have reference content available in a multitude of platforms, but doesn’t recommend the libraries/consortia maintain their own platform. [Ditto on unlimited access and multiple aggregators. OhioLINK has been maintaining its own platforms for years. It’s a great system when you want to make enhancements and don’t have to wait on other companies or the majority of users to agree. SP]

ALA’s Dartmouth Award Finally Goes to an Electronic Source

For the first time in history, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Dartmouth Award, designating outstanding quality and significance to a reference source, was given to an electronic resource.  Greenwood’s Pop Culture Universe, was the 2009 recipient. The Committee selected Pop Culture Universe because it compiles over 300 sources of pop culture information into a fun, user-oriented platform complete with a blog; in essence, Pop Culture Universe signifies the future of reference.  And, as you would expect from a forward thinking reference publisher, they’ve already got a press release on the blog of PCU!

More on the Dartmouth Award from the ALA site:

Established in 1974, this medal honors the creation of a reference work of outstanding quality and significance, including, but not limited to: writing, compiling, editing, or publishing books or electronic information. The award is given to works that have been published or made available for the first time during the calendar year preceding the presentation of the award. Dartmouth Medal Honorable Mention certificates may also be presented.

Dartmouth College established sponsorship of the award in 1974 upon the suggestion of Dean Lathem, Dartmouth College librarian. Dartmouth College commissioned the internationally celebrated graphic artist Rudolph Ruzicka to design the bronze medal. Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, who presided not only over the arts and sciences, but over all intellectual aspects of human life, is featured against a filigree of olive branches.

ALAMW Technology Showcase

Those of you heading to Denver this weekend might want to check out several of the vendors presentations in the Technology Showcase (Show floor, aisle 800 or 2200).  The event is Monday, January 26th from 10:00 to 1:00.  Here are several eBook related vendors and times:

Credo Reference – 11:20 – 11:50 Pueblo Theater (aisle 800)

ebrary – 10:40 – 11:10 – Mesa Theater (aisle 2200)

Springer 12:40 – 1:10 – Mesa Theater (aisle 2200)

eBook programs at ALA Midwinter

If you are headed to Denver in a couple of weeks, see if you have time to pop into one of these panel discussions of eBooks and patron driven acquisition.  If anyone knows of other programs, please let me know.  This was all I could find in the online planner by keyword.

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM on 01/24
OCLC 10 Years of eBooks – What’s Next?
Location: Colorado Convention Center in Room 301

8:00 AM – 10:00 AM on 01/26
PVLR Forum: Patron-Driven Acquisition and Its Impact on Libraries, Vendors, and Publishers
Location: Colorado Convention Center in Room 301

American Libraries Opens Access

My apologies – this has nothing to do with eBooks, at least directly.  But, I wanted to help ALA spread the word.

1. Our weekly e-newsletter, American Libraries Direct, is now available to anyone who wants to sign up for it, not just ALA members. The sign-up form, as well as the FAQ, is at http://www.ala.org/ala/alonline/aldirect/aldirect.cfm .

2. American Libraries has launched its own blog, AL Inside Scoop, http://www.al.ala.org/insidescoop/ . Editor-in-chief Leonard Kniffel offers an insider’s view of goings-on at ALA headquarters and what hot topics ALA staffers are talking about in the hallways. Associate Editor Greg Landgraf offers his perspective from “the lower floors” of what many see as the ALA ivory tower.

3. Login is no longer required to view the current issue of the American Libraries print magazine online (in PDF format), or to view the archives, which date back to the January 2003 issue. Go directly to http://www.ala.org/ala/alonline/alonlineebrary/alonlineebrary.cfm . First-time viewers will need to install the ebrary reader to view issues. To download, go to http://site.ebrary.com/lib/ala/Download . Firefox 3 users installing the reader for the first time will need a workaround, http://www.ebrary.com/kb/users/ff3install.jsp , to make the ebrary reader work with their browser.

Future of Reference Publishing – Panel Summary

A View From the Top Panel, ALA Annual Conference John Barnes, Rolf Janke, Sue Polanka, Michael Ross, Casper Grothwohl

For those of you unable to attend the ALA Panel – The Future of Reference Publishing:  A View from the Top, there is a summary of the program available on Booklist Online.

We encourage comments, questions, and discussion on the blog.

What do you want from us? Reference Publishers want to know.

The last question asked during the ALA panel was asked by panelist, Michael Ross from Encyclopaedia Britannica.  He wanted to know from the librarians in the audience, “what do you want from us?”

Librarians were not shy in extending several responses:

§  I need to make my purchasing decision based on reviews. So, I need to find reviews and awards information easier on a publishers site, to determine and justify my purchase decision

§  More creative pricing models — to support many sizes and needs of institutions (ie. 2 simultaneous users, own, subscribe, collections)

§  Reference sources are duplicated too much. We have dozens of articles with same information. Can you all publish unique things?

§ Consistency in search protocols across platforms — boolean, truncation, plurals, default search, etc (better yet, how about one single platform, SP)

Librarians, what else is on your wish list for reference publishers?  Place your comments here so our panelists can see them.

A View From the Top Panel at ALA

A View From the Top Panel, ALA Annual Conference

Here’s a snapshot from the ALA Presentation – A View from the Top.

Left to right:

John Barnes, Gale/Cengage, Rolf Janke, Sage, Sue Polanka, WSU, Michael Ross, Britannica, Casper Grathwohl, Oxford

To start the session, each of the panelists was asked:

Will we have reference in 10-15 years?  If so, what will it look like?

Their responses were:

John Barnes — Yes, but in a different form – digital and more interactive.  The transformation is already happening. The first step is to get our collections online, which we are doing now.  This might help to ease the “if it isn’t online it doesn’t exist” philosophy of researchers

Rolf Janke — Yes, but google and other web based vendors might share the stage with us. 5 years ago google was a threat, now they are partners.

Michael Ross  — Yes, but the vocabulary will change. We won’t have collections or series, ‘search’ will become ‘find,’ and there will be more birthing of products online.  Reference will need to become unbound — in a more transparent environment that address the needs of a variety of people.

Casper Grathwohl — We are not dying, we are knowledge factories. All of us, including Wikipedia, have a place in the environment. The information is there, we need to determine how to define it and add value to it, and there is no lack of ideas on which direction to go.

ALA Program – The Future of Electronic Reference Publishing

2008 ALA Annual, Anaheim
Monday, June 30, 2008 10:30 – 12:00
Reference Books Bulletin (Booklist) sponsored program:

The Future of Electronic Reference Publishing: A View from the Top.

Top managers from reference publishing share their views about planning for tomorrow in a digital age and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Speakers:
John Barnes, Exec. V.P. Marketing and Strategic Planning, Gale/Cengage
Casper Grathwohl, V.P. and Publisher, Oxford University Press
Alison Mudditt, Executive Vice President, Higher Education Group, SAGE Publications
Michael Ross, Sr. V.P. Corporate Development, Encyclopedia Britannica

Moderator:
Sue Polanka, Chair, Reference Books Bulletin Editorial Board