Wednesday, December 3, 2008

afternoon discussion and Q&A

Moving to open discussion:

Schottlaender: how would we articulate the value proposition?

RS:The question of value is one that we face on a couple of different levels.
Print vs electronic:
* There's a bunch of questions now about whether we need to keep the print for preservation.
* For digital collections -- the idea that we're going to spend a lot of money keeping print for fixing errors in scans doesn't seem right; over many years
We might have changing digital file standards -- rescanning images to a new standard etc. But if we have reason to scientifically trust the digital systems that exist, then there's a question about whether preservation alone is a reason to retain print -- this seems speculative to me.

audience comment: what about google's efforts -- they claim they will be driving traffic to libraries. We don't yet know how digitization, leading to better finding aids and indexing, will actually increase usage of print.

ES: one of the major strides that is being made in the preservation world is focussing on the loss of content. There's a much higher risk for print journals that are print-only and have no electronic version.
Simulating outages: need to simulate an entire digital publisher outage.
Also: what about journals when the digital version & the print versions are different?

audience comment: I would suggest modeling a range of catastrophes -- will probably be more subtle than a total outage, such as losing access to a particular format. [Ed. note: I totally agree with this comment. PDF and the like are both relatively new standards and not entirely open ones; the danger of putting all our eggs in a proprietary-data basket seems pretty high].

JN: the speed of risk and recovery for print materials is very slow on both ends. The speed of onset of problems for digital materials is much faster, though recovery is also much faster.
And if we keep thinking about the issues -- most printed work today *started* life in a digital format. Do we preserve the surrogate or the original?

CM: Print & electronic deserve to be treated differently. Aggregate value over time will probably decline.
Most titles in JSTOR are held by hundreds of libraries; but for print-only journals, institutional holdings are very thin (and that means an entry in OCLC, not every issue!) Print-only journal holdings tend to be *very* spotty.

BS: so, people like Constance and Roger would do us all a big favor if you could do some research into what "print-only holdings need to be preserved" actually means.

ES: And when does it make sense to work on a network level? When does it make sense for libraries to participate in consortia? And when do we set up a "non-compete" agreement -- we don't have enough resources to do things twice over.

BS: this is all great, but individual circumstances at institutions can change rapidly. We might run out of money next year.

Audience comment: one thing that argues for UC as a system being useful as a node is our ability to act as a system.

BS: to continue to think of ourselves as a node on the network.

Some discussion amongst the CDL people in the room that I didn't catch.

Audience comment: the infrastructure to actually do cross-campus collective development is tough, ie. who bears the cost of selection tools, etc.
ES: Yes!

RS: A bit of history: the midwest print repository in the 1940s and 1950s, became the Center for Research Libraries. Has a completely different mission on the national level than it did at the regional level. So the notion that you can just agree on something and then it is stable is probably false.
(To the audience): what about duplication across the RLFs? Is the mission of the RLFs changing?

JN: what pulls resources somewhere? what creates a pull? The RLFs pull resources towards them.

BS: The other beauty of the network is it enables one to distribute responsibility over many players.

Audience comment: about the 1970 journals (that we might hypothetically toss the print of because they are all online): there are some things that are not really digitized commonly -- ads, covers, etc.

RS: that's true and we need to make sure that the digital scanning process is enough. some discussion follows about the historical record and a 1470 journal versus a 1970 journal.

The presenters discuss preservation issues. Photo by Min-Lin Fang.

BS: At the end of the day, we mainly need to make sure we *know* how people digitized things

Audience comment: what about lifecycle cost?
JN: the British library has done the best work on this -- i.e. you buy a manuscript, the cost is frontloaded; but when you buy a digital format you have to keep dealing with it.
But that is probably not quite right because the last period has been especially chaotic. Some digital formats are more stable than others (i.e., we've got ASCII text down). Over time preservation has meant preserving something in a media -- stone tablets, etc. We don't worry about the languages the content is in.
But in digital preservation it's reversed: the storage media is very cheap, but we worry a lot about how to interpret the data. The digital problem is "forgetting how to speak the language."

Audience comment: I'm wondering how you think the UC and CDL is an *impediment* to collection development. What does anyone from the CDL think of collaborating with the CSUs and comm colleges?
Ivy Anderson (CDL): Hathi trust is high level collab & we discovered 60% overlap
ES: there are facets to that question -- e.g. for government or regional information, collaboration makes a lot of sense. Also other libraries may want access to our collections.
As for backup print copies; we can't do that for the entire academic world, but we can do that for the UCs.

BS: The Hathi trust -- I was glad the UCs joined because I think we have much more expertise in digital preservation than they do.

JN: digital preservation is an area of expertise that we have that google, barnes & noble etc do not. And we have specific areas of expertise -- i.e. I sent wax cylinders for preservation from UCLA to UCSB. If we look around the UCs I think we'll find a lot of such areas of expertise where we can pool and share our resources.

What Cost Print Preservation?

Roger Schonfeld of Ithaka is asking tough but fair questions about the cost-benefit analysis of an intense commitment to print preservation. In very many cases, wouldn't a digital surrogate of a journal article be just as usable as the physical artifact?

[I agree with this in general, with the caveat that print journals often have advertisements and front matter that aren't as readily scanned as the articles.]

Recent ARL-Ithaka Report on Current Models of Digital Scholarly Communication

Ithaka, one of the groups represented at today's Assembly, recently partnered with ARL on an important new report about current models of digital scholarship in universities.

Read the report here [PDF]. Some highlights:
  • Purely digital publications are often directed at niche audiences.
  • Web 2.0 technologies have blurred lines between resource types (for example, a blog is or could be a type of journal)
  • Traditional norms maintain power even as scholars innovate.

Schottlaender summarizes

After these introductory comments, Schottlaender then moved on to more specific summaries of and comments about the morning speaker's presentations.

About Schonfeld's presentation: Not a criticism of Roger, but I find his data most appalling! In his presentation, Roger described a flip where academic libraries did a flip and became more interested in digital preservation and less interested in print. Possible reasons why (Schottlaender) thinks this might be so:
* big libraries think they've already done it for print?
* are more invested in digital technologies?
Also declining interest among faculty about print or print preservation.

Schottlaender thinks we should do a "Negative trigger event exercise" -- i.e. what if terrorism takes out the internet and we have no electronic journals? Could we recover?

(Continuing to summarize): Constance spoke about the commonness of uniqueness. "Libraries uniquely manage commonly held materials, while not commonly managing unique materials."
This bothers (Schottlaender) -- especially because the average 13 copies of a serial -- we have tended to be complacent in the idea that lots of places have lots of copies.

But Jake talked about the disconnect between the preservation mission of libraries and the resources devoted to preservation, in large part because print is so durable and can withstand a fair amount of abuse.

Schottlaender noted that libraries tend to talk about preservation in a string of words along with "mom and apple pie" but there's a false sense of security there that we run the risk of falling afoul of.

He then opened it up for discussion.

Afternoon Session Begins

Right now UCSD University Librarian Brian Schottlaender is summarizing the morning's sessions.

One tidbit: UC's recently announced partnership with the Hathi Trust is a high level preservation strategy, for the Google age.

afternoon session: Schottlaender introduces and summarizes

Same group of panelists, moderated by Brian E.C. Schottlaender (Convenor, University Librarians Group). We also have a number of people from the CDL with us who have been exploring systemwide issues.
Introductory comments by Brian, then discussion.

Brian Schottlaender and Constance Malpas, in the afternoon session; photo by Dana Peterman

Brian started with two ideas:
* the "collective collection"
* "networked infrastructure"

We are charged with managing two different kinds of collections, digital and print. It's not at all clear to me that if either one of them were taken away from us we'd be happy.

The collective collection is multi-type -- electronic & non, books & journals, primary & secondary, etc. In addition, the institutions that manage the collections are multi-type.

The collective collection is not several collections, or a collection of collections (like the UC libraries). What distinguishes the "collective collection" is the application of a greater will to manage it for the greater good, and a network infrastructure.

Network infrastructure is necessary b/c the collection is also *distributed*, both on small & large scale. This network infrastructure can be visualized as a series of nodes, like other networked services. In this context, the RLFs, for instance, are each nodes, as are individual libraries or perhaps even the UC as a whole.

Think about what makes a trusted system. The definition of trust that Schottlaender likes best: "it does what you expect it to, and it does not do what you don't expect it to do." When you turn the light switch, the lights actually come on, not that the curtains fall or the building explodes or the lights don't actually come on. When we build "trusted archives" will they do what we want them to? In the case of some sort of catastrophic failure, can we recover with our current archives?

(Ed. note: it seems that by this definition libraries in general act as trusted systems: people trust us to be open, answer their questions, stock their research materials, etc... and when that doesn't happen everyone gets all flustered because libraries, in general, are pretty reliable. We have set that expectation for our users).

LAUC-I first time attendees

Two librarians from Irvine were first time attendees to the Fall Assembly. Erin Conor, Research Librarian for Performing Arts, and Virginia Allison, Research Librarian for Visual Arts, received travel grants for the San Francisco meeting.

During lunch we talked about how people chose to become librarians - always an interesting topic. Librarians like to talk when fed.

LAUC morning program Q&A

Q: (for Constance): Circulation doesn't tell the whole story of how our collections are used, right? (reference, photocopying, etc).
A: (CM): yes, of course; but in our data we did make an effort to supress the non-circulating part of the collection.
A: (Jake Nalder): one of the things we're looking at in UCLA is use, and we can always find some indication of use -- whether it's scribbling in the margins or a digital marker. The number of pristine books are next to none.
At NYPL we did a condition survey, condition related to use -- and we couldn't get anything. If you put books in front of people, they all get use.
A: (CM): It's interesting how use varies across collections. The ARLs have the lowest circulation percentage.

Q: Uniqueness factor -- are we buying & preserving the wrong things? I.E. if smaller universities have materials that are unique, they are not being looked at for preservation as much. Are there efforts to do this?
A:(CM): we've found within the community that there is a kind of preservation mandate & infrastructure. The independent research universities have enormously rich research collections and they don't have infrastructure to do preservation, but they also don't feel a mandate to get rid of their print collections.
A:(JN): our conception of preservation as an institutional mission is very much out of scale with our resources to do that work or implement that policy. We are used to managing collections of durable objects that suffer damage very gracefully. "Books are just embarrassingly durable." But one of the concerns that comes up during shared print is "hot potato preservation" -- you wake up one morning & realize you're the institution with the last copy of something. And we are working on preserving some of the wrong things and not focussing on rare things, etc. But preservation continues unbeholden to faculty work, etc.

Q: I was astonished by some of the overlap between collections. Is this a historical phenomenon? I suspect that overlap is greater now than it used to be because of vendors. This is of particular concern given our low budgets for purchasing. I would say we should be very careful and think about consortial purchasing.
A:(CM): I would concur that approval plans have helped produce redundancy. They are convenient but also undercutting our ability to seek out uniqueness. That has certainly been the case in Ohiolink, where even trying to do cooperative collection development. But we have also learned is that seeking out unique items is a lot of work and in an age of streamlining workflows difficult to do.
A:(JN): we spend a lot of effort on redundant materials but not enough on unique materials -- ie. on cataloging records for the same item from two UCs, but not on unique foreign language newspapers.

Q:(for Roger): in the faculty surveys, were results age-related? Do younger faculty support getting rid of print more?
A: we all expect that, but broadly speaking no. By contrast, the biggest differences we see are by discipline -- humanities vs science etc.

Q: (for Emily): At UCSD I've had the experience of talking about shared print with collegues, and we are talking about entirely different things -- so there is a large need to pin down definitions and goals.
A:(ES): We mean very different things when we use the same terms, but also when we're doing the work (is a lack of covers ok?) Ultimately those standards will lead to a definition of what we trust. In other words, once we've built that archive, will the remaining campuses weed their copies because they trust the archive enough? E.G., physical condition and completeness are very different metrics, but are often conflated.

Comment: and campuses may be feeling different pressures -- i.e. one campus may be running out of room.
ES: and doing shared print work costs money and implies incremental space savings, but space crises tend to come very quickly.

Jake Nalder & Preservation

Jake Naldal is the new preservation Officer at UCLA. Introduction: a new voice at the shared collections table, and a new person in the UC system. Exciting that we are having this conversation.

Rough transcription of Naldal's presentation:

"when people with a preservation background look at the world, they see something rather different and more horrifying than the world you see."

Preservation is really a small part of what we do. Libraries excel at preservation as a happenstance of our activities -- when you collect materials under one room and hire people to look after them, they tend to survive. But libraries do next to nothing on active preservation (environmental management, etc).

Most of the preservation successes have already been from networked individual institutions, because preservation professionals have been used to work together. It behooves us to push preservation to the networked level.

Certainly when I look at the UCLA collection and 5-8% of the colelction has problems to the extent that I don't want them to be used -- that already keeps me employed for a century. So individually we can only really preserve the most special of the special collections. For the bulk of the scholarly record -- we must work as a consortium.

Another useful note is the reality of digitization. Most of our collections are on track to have a digital surrogate of an item. There's a big difference between a digital version of a common book and a rare manuscript; one thing we are working out in the preservation community is how we articulate these values.

In presevation, up until this digital era, our only option was to make a physical surrogate; now we can make a digital object.

In preservation, we often look to the museum community; they look back to us as people engaged in intellectual preservation rather than object preservation. We have a larger connection to the wider world.

Jake Nalder laughs.. at the thought that we are spending enough on preservation activities? With Emily Stambaugh. Photo by Dana Peterman.

Emily Stambaugh

Emily Stambaugh talked about the goals for the shared print program at UC, which have been influenced by outside research (such as the projects the other presenters have been talking about).
* long-range goals for shared print -- more comprehensive collection space savings and cost avoidances
* reallocation of library space
* preserve the scholarly record

Potential cooperative collection development areas:
* prospective monographs
* prospective print serials
* retrospective print serials

Ongoing projects: Canadian literature, IEEE Journals (this is a UCB-UCD-NRLF project).

Coming soon for the UC shared print project: Area Studies Monographs. Send your suggestions for relevant area studies to Emily. Also: a task force on "shared print in place".

Emily has many questions, such as:
* when does it make sense to act cooperatively, to build a retrospective collection or a serials project?
* We have a very high level of confidence in the JSTOR project. What will it take for us to build a low-level validated archive?
* What would be the standards for this validated program? What's a reasonable level of effort for doing this work?

To find out more about the UC Shared Print project, go to

more statistics that make you go "hmmm"

Constance Malpas had more statistics about California libraries, as well:

* CA represents 9% of US Academic Library holidings
*... and 8% of aggregate ARL unique titles
* 37K books borrowed from outside sources in 2006 in the UCs

About uniqueness among all institutions: (based on worldcat data)
* More than 50% of the titles that have been borrowed through ILL recently are held by less than 50 libraries

Based on 6 years of monographic borrowing at an ARL institution:
* 55% of the titles were requested only once: 45% of the titles were requested more than once; rarely held and rarely borrowed titles still represent a significant demand in the aggregate

Based on one consortia: In Ohiolink -- a consortium that has been very aggressive about preventing redundancy, there are still roughly 4.5 duplicate copies for each title
* but in the aggregate collection -- only about 50% of the titles in Ohiolink have ever circulated, at all
* Limited use of the collection as a whole, but use is very concentrated -- the 80:20 rule
* But it's worse than that: 6.5% of titles in circulation represent 80% of the total circulation

[Note: I didn't catch how she got the 4.5 copies number -- is that on average? Because it seems like obscure monographs might be held by one school while popular textbooks might be held by dozens ... but we didn't get into that level of detail].

Print in Libraries--Fast Facts

According to Constance Malpas, the next speaker:

  • 1 billion volumes in North American research libraries, 9% of US share in California
  • 70 million volumes in storage
  • 25 million volumes acquired each year
  • UC collection growth an average of 1.94% each year
  • Print redundancy across collections: Studies show varied results.

  • average holdings for serial titles in worldcat is 13
  • average holidngs for books in worldcat = 9, or a preservation horizon of 50 years at 0.999 .... and up to 40% of book titles have a single insitution holding
  • de-duplication opportunities may be less than imagined

Varied Views of Importance of Print Preservation

Fascinating tidbit: 2006 Ithaka survey reveals two contradictory findings:
  • Small university libraries prize print preservation more than large research institutions, but are less likely to have a programmatic commitment to it.
  • Large research libraries are less tied to print by now--conceptually at least--but are more likely to have archival collections.

Morning Program--Role of Print in Digital Environment

Roger Schonfeld of Ithaka is speaking about the continuing relevance of print.

Some reasons for keeping print in a mostly-digital environment include:
  • Fixing scanning errors
  • Evolution of standards, development of new features
  • Securing printed artifact
  • "Unknown unknowns" about what future holds
Open question: Does this, collectively, justify cost of maintaining print? How do we we know that this is worth the effort?

Roger Schonfeld rolls up his sleeves in preparation for taking on collection preservation. Photo by Dana Peterman.

[from phoebe:] He then talked about faculty attitudes re: print. Faculty attitude about print survey conducted in 2006:
* 40% of Faculty agreed strongly that maintaining a print collection will always be crucial;
* 20% would be happy to see print collections discarded in favor of good electronic collections
* 62% agree they'd be happy to see current print collections dropped in favor of electronic

We've seen all of these numbers increase since 2003->2006. This shift is likely to make the political case for print preservation progressively more challenging on campuses. Ithaka plans to conduct this survey again next year.

Similar survey of collection development directors in the U.S.:
"In the future it will no longer be necessary for our library to maintain hard-copy versions of journals" -- 40%+ of large research universities agreed; smaller ones agreed much less so.

Research universities continued to say that print preservation was less of a focus for them -- despite the fact that they are the only ones who do it regularly! Research universities are more excited about electronic preservation than print preservation.

Study: 6 copies of a page verified non circulating copy enough to preserve for 100 years at high confidence. (But verifying pages is a multimillion dollar effort without clear benefits).

Faculty think it's more important that *some* libraries keep a hard copy, versus their *own* library keeping a print copy. (And the same is true of research libraries).

Presidential report

After committee reports, Sam Dunlap gave his presidential report, much of which focused on issues that were touched on in the committee reports, particularly the bylaws.

Bylaws: still in progress; UCOP concerns over the new diversity committee charge.

LAUC as clearinghouse: ULs are interested in having LAUC act as a clearinghouse of information, and help put together some documents that will help promote "UC Libraries as destination place." There is a new clearinghouse page on the LAUC website.

q&a notes mislaid on phoebe's computer; to come

News: The Spring Assembly will be Wednesday May 13, 2009 at UCR-Palm Desert campus.

Committee reports

Next up is committee reports. Note: all of the reports from last year have been posted on the website

* Sam Dunlap reported for Research & Professional Development:
* special charge for streamlined research funds
* RPD developed a minigrant program and submitted it to Gary Lawrence; the report outlines the convoluted process of how this proposal is making its way through the bureaucracy of UCOP.

* Sam also reported for the Nominations committee, on behalf of Bob Heyer-Gray: the committee is now formed.

* Shannon Supple reported for Resource Sharing -- their report is online, and please contact Shannon with any questions.

* Chimene Tucker reported from the Diversity committee
* Diversity was charged with figuring out recruitment and retention issues. This charge was problematic, because it was part of the bylaws that were never approved, so the ULs wondered if we really had the right to ask questions about it.
* In the end, the diversity committee was not able to get any information or complete their survey.

Questions: (all about the diversity committee's report)

Q: wasn't recruitment and retention a concern for the ULs?
A: At some point it may have been... but in between then & the committee working on the charge, it turned into a non-issue for the ULs.

Q: what's the new plan for the committee?
A: depends on the charge from the new LAUC President.

Sam notes that the survey (and past charge) is very much wrapped up in the bylaws issue, which he will discuss in his presidential report.

Q: we have done surveys before, right?
A: (from Sam): we have done many surveys before, and they always show the same issues: cost of housing & higher salaries elsewhere affect recruitment & retention.
A: (from Shannon): those surveys were of the members; this survey was meant to be of administration information

Comment: part of it was that many of these factors are already known; but we don't know the next step.

Q: isn't doing exit interviews part of our contract, but this hasn't been consistently done
A:(from Sam): that's a good question, we can discuss it.

The attendees in the Lange Room. Photo by Min-Lin Fang.

Janet Lockwood

Janet Lockwood from UCOP joined the meeting via Skype, with the video being projected onto a large screen at the front of the room. The sound and video were good.

Lockwood focussed on four main issues:
  • UCOP restructuring
  • Budget
  • enrollment growth
  • employee contributions to the retirement plan

Restructuring plan: they hope will be in place by mid-January.
2 new units created to deal with planning & policy at UCOP within academic affairs:
* communications
* issues management (concentrating on long-term planning, incld. strategic planning)

Budget: "very, very bleak."
UCOP has been told to brace itself for continuing dramatic cuts. 145M shortfall for this year; proposed 65+M more in cuts from the Gov.

At their last meeting, Regents approved a budget for 09-10 to "sustain excellence" -- at UCOP they are calling this the "wishful thinking" budget to show the legislature & the Regents to shohw them what we really need.

Enrollment growth: an issue for Pres. Yudof.
Currently UCs are overenrolled by 10K (? not sure if I got this # right - ed.) students, with another 1000 in pipeline. Regents not in favor of tuition increases, but we're beyond what tuition increases could cover anyway. Capping or freezing enrollment is on the table, but there are no definite plans and we do want to serve the state of California.

Retirement plan: UC employees need to contribute to the retirement plan again, for the first time in 11 years.

According to actuarial tables, employees need to contribute 11% of salaries, due both to the failing economy & the fact that for the first time in a long time the retirement fund is under 100% funded. The employee portion of that 11% will likely be 2-3%, leaving the rest for UC to cover (and yet another hole in the budget).

(More things: developments in plans and academic senate policy issues -- folding the academic dean back under academic personnel instead of management -- that I didn't quite catch).


Q: I know that a lot of us contribute to our 401K. Will the retirement plan contirbution be on top of that?
JL: Yes, it will be on top of that and will amount to a reduction in your salary. What the retirement program officer emphasized here is that there haven't been any contributions for 18 years; an enjoyable period that is now at an end, due both to the economy/budget & the fact that the retirement program is now at 80%.

Q: If I understand correctly, this retirement contribution is a hidden pay cut.
JL: well, it's not intended to be a pay cut, but that is the end result.
UCOP is very concerned about that, and part of the budget that was presented to the Regents recognizes that salary increases need to be put in place.

Q: Will those retirement plan contributions be taxable?
JL: I don't know, but I'll find out from the retirement office.

Q: With CSU announcing that they were going to freeze enrollment,and with President Yudof seriously considering it, how likely do you think that the UCs will freeze enrollment statewide?
JL: There are two views -- one is that we can't freeze or cut enrollment as we must continue to serve California; the other is that we don't have the money. Don't know the outcome but the regents & the president are concentrating on the issue.

Thanks to Janet Lockwood for the presentation. Lockwood apologized for introducing herself to us with such bad news!

Kicking off Fall Assembly

Well, I got here just a few minutes late due to troubles with traffic and parking -- a thick blanket of fog on the Bay Bridge didn't help the bumper to bumper traffic.

After the introductions and University Librarian address (which I missed), the agenda is:
  • Janet Lockwood from UCOP
  • Committee Reports
  • Sam Dunlap's LAUC president report
  • the morning panel: views on shared print, with:
    • Roger Schonfeld (Manager of Research, Ithaka)
    • Constance Malpas (Program Officer, OCLC Research)
    • Emily Stambaugh (Manager, Shared Print, CDL)
    • Jake Nadal (Preservation Officer, UCLA)

Then: Lunch!

Then the afternoon session, which will be a continued discussion about the issues raised in the morning panel, moderated by Brian Schottlaender.

Librarians in the Lange room. Photo by Dana Peterman.