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NASIG 2015 - Day 2

The first full day of NASIG was a busy one for me. It started with breakfast with my NASIG mentor, Jeanie Castro from the University of Houston. As a veteran member of NASIG and electronic resources librarianship, Jeanie was really able to get to the heart of want I wanted to get out of this conference and how to do that quickly. She also confirmed my suspicion that ER&L is really the conference for me and I explained why I couldn't go this year, but hoped in the future that I would be able to go.

She also made her pitch for joining a NASIG committee and of course sold the committee she's an ardent member of - continuing education. I got really excited about a project she wants to work on down the road sharing case studies of electronic resources librarianship in all sizes and types of libraries. And I have to admit, as a public librarian focusing on electronic resource management I'm interested in any project that wants to add more voices to a field dominated by academics.

The opening speaker was Dorothea Salo stressing the importance of librarians standing up for our patrons' privacy needs. I'll admit that I've been a little laissez faire about this lately, partly because I'm not overly concerned about the privacy of my data. But her points about how we need to be careful when performing assessment that we're still respecting our patrons' privacy really hit home. We've bought some powerful new analytics tools that give us a much clearer picture of community behavior, but do they do so while still protecting patron privacy?

I attended the morning session on creating an ebook collection development policy in smaller libraries. Like most things at this conference, it focused on academic titles, which is really what I was thinking about anyway. Our collection development team does a good job of handling our popular ebook titles through Overdrive and the various other platforms we subscribe to, but as I was preparing to leave for this conference I just signed an agreement to add new titles to our GVRL platform and I was shocked by the price. As GVRL makes more and more titles available, the old model of just adding everything possible doesn't apply anymore, so maybe it's time I get a little more formal about how we choose to add research ebooks to our collection.

It was good to hear other smaller libraries having the same concerns and that clearly having an ebook collection development policy longer than a sentence (We collect ebooks.) is pretty rare. Because the presentation covered two different schools, it was a nice contrast of concerns involved in the process of developing an ebook policy, but also reinforced that no matter the institution you still have to remember that the content in ebooks (just like in print books) needs to be a principal concern in collection development.

The first afternoon session was about transistioning to Worldcat Discovery and while it didn't go into as much depth as I had hoped, the presenter on the panel who was clearly the most experienced with WDS confirmed my hunch that it's worth my time to get the discovery side of this product set up because it has the potential to be a good replacement for our current ERM/link resolver that I hate so much. If nothing else, the customer support from OCLC is miles ahead of our current ERM provider.

The audience was pretty tough on Sean Varner but, honestly, most of the criticism came from people who sounded like they still didn't "get" what WDS is about, while Varner really seems to and explained things well, despite the short amount of time he had to cover a wealth of information. I'll admit that he may be slightly understimating the work involved for libraries that don't have much tech expertise among their staff, but generally his statements that things that aren't working in WDS can be fixed with a phone call to OCLC seem true in my experience.

The second afternoon session was three case studies of adding different discovery services and getting them to work with the CUFTS ERM suite. We don't use CUFTS, but mostly I was interested in seeing side by side comparisons of adoption of three different discovery systems. In this case, Primo, Summon, and EDS. All of the libraries involved had to deal with the problem of maintaining 2 knowledge bases, which sounds absolutely awful. I can barely keep up with one. This is another consideration if we decide to go with a discovery service. Will that force us to switch ERM services simply for the sake of simplifying my workflow?

There are so many considerations at play in the decision to add a discovery service. In my breakfast discussion with Jeanie, she brought up the importance of the compatibility of your existing resources with the discovery provider you decide to go with, which led me away from the two contenders I'd been focusing on, and brought up an option I hadn't even seriously considered before.

In the evening I attended one of the dine arounds, which is supposed to be a social activity, but was also professionally interesting to me because I ate with two veteran catalogers from big universities, the kinds of people I have very little day-to-day interaction with in my current job, so it was interesting to hear a completely different perspective on serials management.

All in all, this feels like a, so far, successful conference experience because my brain is full to nearly bursting, but I'm still fairly confident that I've gained some clarity about issues that have been holding me up at work.

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