Week in Review – 28 February 2014

Library Survey Comments: Collections and Digital Collections

In addition to the questions asked on the recent survey of faculty regarding library services, those taking the survey were invited to make any general comments. Those responses have been sorted out into different categories, grouped together with similar comments, and we have prepared responses where appropriate. This week is a look at comments that relate to collections and digital collections. Comments are listed by bullets and responses are in green italic text.

  • Special Collections digital offerings could be easier to navigate and added to more frequently. Would like for the recent Superintendent reports to be on-line. Also all Howitzers. Seems like the library should have a UFR in place to digitize more of Special Collections each year.
  • I have had problems getting a clear view of what we have in the special collections. For instance, whose papers/personal documents, etc are available to us.

We agree. Technology has not helped our digital collection initiatives as the software repository we use has been extremely unreliable for several years. This spring we plan to move these collections to a new off-site hosting provider that should significantly improve our ability to maintain and add to these collections. We also are prioritizing staff work in the area of digital metadata creation that will allow us to broaden efforts to provide digital collections. We do have many finding aids for special collections and archives available on our website currently.

  • For EECS, the key services are the IEEE and ACM online digital libraries. These are expensive but essential. The Library’s paper collection is nearly useless for our needs. AKO provides valuable access to the 24×7 Referenceware collection of pop technical material. When similar material in other collections is needed for projects and research, we include it in the project budget. The Library’s paper collections of such material are too thin and out-of-date to be useful. This is okay. Books like this have a useful life of perhaps 3-5 years and shrinking, and perhaps a thousand would have to be on hand to provide a reasonable chance that cadets and faculty members could find what they need. In fact, I suggest the Library stop further purchases of such material in these lean times. There is very little ROI. The upshot is that the main value of the physical library to the EECS disciplines is as a beautiful study space for individuals and groups.

We understand the disciplinary differences in the value of print collections and we do try to adjust collection policies and practices accordingly. That said, we do not want to forsake any area of the collection and welcome suggestions of core titles, publishers, and subjects to inform your departmental academic support statement.

  • It would be interesting to see if anyone uses the books.

They do! In 2012-13 we circulated more than 56,000 items from our monograph, DVD, and audiovisual collections.

  • I know the library does not have large collections due to lack of funds and space, but I feel the staff does a great job finding resources we need via library loan or other methods. The staff is very responsive to our needs.

Space is actually not a problem for us … though funding often is.

  • I find myself using the AKO Safari Books Online resources or my account at the last university I was at.

We also recommend using resources available on AKO. If there are things you think we should have here locally though, please let us know.

  • I have never used the library since I can get all of the journal articles I need on line. If I need a book, I usually just buy it.

No need to buy things yourself (unless you really want to build your own library, which we certainly understand). Just let your library liaison know what you need.

  • Will you please get Web of Science? This can help students find interconnected sources, and as an instructor I could quickly check a student’s sources to see if they hit all the main references – particularly on a subject on which I am not well-versed. I used this in grad school and it was a super-big time saver.

We have had Web of Science in the past, though it has not been identified as a top, mission-critical resource. Cost of this resource is also a consideration (in the mid-five-figure neighborhood for USMA). We are always committed to finding ways to acquire mission-essential resources. Please make sure those items are included in your academic support statements and that your liaison is aware of the need.

  • Subscribe to more journals.
  • Expand digital access to science journals
  • Increase the availability of full content electronic media.
  • More digital access to engineering peer reviewed journals
  • There have been a few journal titles and books that aren’t available in my work in environmental sociology, but I would imagine there is very little need for these.
  • The most important service for me is subscriptions to online journals. Specifically physics (lasers and optics)
  • More is always better in terms of journal access. I use a wide variety, so I can’t recommend any one particular journal.
  • I would like to see the catalog expand significantly by following input by faculty regarding what they would like to have access to.
  • I wish there were more audio book available from the consortium of associated web libraries. Other than that, great library that more should utilize.
  • Foreign movies in the 8 languages that we teach would be a welcome addition. Must have English subtitles.
  • Printed magazines in different languages. Sometimes it’s easier to grab the magazine and read rather than turn on the computer, connect to wireless (not always reliable), find the website, open the document and start reading. Thanks!
  • I would like to see more published primary works, especially English ones like the Calendar of State Papers and the Historical Manuscripts Commission collections. These would allow cadets access to published primary documents from government sources and officials, especially for the 17th through 19th centuries.
  • Digital access to journals and digests speeds up research, but cost may be prohibitive. There are several electronic resources that this institute SHOULD have, and to its credit, the MUST HAVES are being addressed.
  • I work in a science that is poorly represented with respect to percentage of faculty as well as cadet interests in specializing in the field at West Point. I do understand that. However, I would expect that — am I to be producing research results at par with colleagues from other departments — the library resources in my field would be more helpful to me in accomplishing my goals.
  • Last year (AY13) a cadet did complain to me the library had no or very few books on physical training.

When budgets allow, we do acquire new monographs, journals, and audiovisual materials when requested to do so. Please make sure you have submitted a request through your liaison for any materials you wish to see added. Also make sure your departmental academic support statement accurately includes materials you feel are essential to support the curriculum.

  • Please keep the electronic access to many journals…that has assisted me greatly in work here.
  • The only service I use is the digital subscriptions to IEEE and ACM.
  • Online resources such as IEEE, ACM, and others are essential. Please sustain!
  • Please continue the access to digital subscriptions, especially the engineering resources such as IEEE eXplore. While expensive, they are the most valuable resource the library offers to my engineering students.

We intend to keep as much as we can that is useful. Please make sure your departmental academic support statement accurately reflects the priorities you have for content so we can be sure you have what you need.

  • Get rid of the print journals and invest more into online access. Our online access to science journals is embarrassing.

Hopefully you have recently noticed our changes on the second floor in the current periodicals area where it is clear how few journals we now acquire in paper. While we have reduced our paper subscriptions, we have steadily increased our electronic subscriptions. We now provide access to tens of thousands of full text journals. If there are specific titles or packages you feel are mission, please let your liaison know and add them to your department’s academic support statement.

  • Put far more funding into electronic resources.

More than 90% of our appropriated funding for library resources is allocated to digital products.

  • I would like to see more NY Times Bestseller non-fiction books make it to the library more quickly. Books by authors such as Malcom Gladwell and books on topics in higher education. Could you have more new releases and not just mostly books on war and military?

Your request is noted and we will look at acquiring these sorts of titles more rapidly.

  • It would be nice to have Naxos (Digital Music Library) access again.

Naxos is a great product and if there are curricular requirements for this, please let us know.

  • I think the process for faculty to suggest book/periodical purchases is cumbersome and awkward. I’m not sure why I have to go through my dept library liaison–why can’t that email just go to the library?

Individual academic departments set up their own internal processes for requesting materials among their faculty. In some departments, faculty are encouraged to directly work with their library liaison. We recommend you work with your colleagues to streamline the process.

  • The foreign language collection (especially for my language) is very weak. It is difficult to request new books for purchase. Also, I would like to see the ability to put books used in courses on reserve, but if the library does not have the book that I need in the first place, it therefore wouldn’t be able to reserve it. We use the library as a source for the capstone and research papers primarily, which is a shame as it could be a much better resource for other courses if the resources were there.

Please suggest some titles or specific subject areas for your language, and work with your department and library liaison to make the process for requesting materials more efficient. As noted in the response previous to this one, we can accept requests just about any way your department wants to coordinate sending them. We do offer course reserves, and can order materials to be placed there for courses. Just let us know what you need.

  • The resources allocated to collection development continue to be woefully inadequate for a premiere undergraduate research library.

It is true that our funding levels are below those of the institutions that we consider our peers. See our annual Program Review for more data and discussion on this. It is a point routinely raised by the Library.

  • Seems like the shelves have a lot of old versions but lack newer nonfiction books, especially if they are not directly related to military history or policy. While it’s great to retain these older books, some of them have outdated material that is not useful for researching the current status of a particular topic. Sorry to be so vague…I have found this across the board, whether travel books, social policy, military retirement, women’s issues…
  • A lot of the books are outdated.

Your comment is noted, and we have just completed a collection analysis that will allow us to do some more accurate and data-based management of our collection, particularly the items that are unused and easily available from other locations. While space is not a limiting factor for us, making the shelves useful and browseable is valuable. We agree that making sure that the materials found there are relevant is important.

  • Please resubscribe to StratFor. There are a number of strategic studies resources that approach it, but none quite meets the quality and timeliness of this source.

We would recommend working with a librarian so we can learn exactly what you are seeking to find. In many cases, the content in Stratfor is available freely on the web from other sources.

  • Don’t overdo the public functions (meetings, displays) at the expense of collections holding.

Maintaining the best resources to support the curriculum and ensuring that our users are trained to use those resources will remain our top priorities.

  • I rated the library’s collection adequate because in the field I study – military history – the library seems to retain a fair number of books and scholarship from 20-30 years past and fewer of the cutting edge scholarship. Suggestion: reach out to the humanities departments and ask whether they would like faculty to volunteer to help advise the library on specific subject areas. For example, I study the French empire in the 19th and 20th centuries. I would be happy, if asked to review the library’s collection and make a list of books that should stay, books that are somewhat outdated and could go to storage, and some new books to order. I would probably recommend that some older books both stay and go. Of course this runs the problem of creating a library that caters to particular faculty interests, but maybe we could at least help advise on some of the major categories. I have no idea if other university libraries do this, or how it is that they maintain the best collections.

Please see the other responses regarding collection management. This is an ongoing issue and partnering with faculty and subject-area experts is certainly a possibility and is beneficial. We will promote this with our liaisons, and you should feel free to contact yours directly to discuss this in more detail.

Next week, we’ll look at comments regarding library services and facilities.

USMA Library Events

The events below will likely affect USMA Library and Jefferson Hall operations in the coming week.

Date USMA O/DEAN USMA Library Jefferson Hall Hours
Fri 28 Feb 2014 Holocaust Remembrance Day Dean’s Recognition Ceremony Week in Review West Point Security Conference (Model UN) 0700-2100
Sat 1 Mar 2014 West Point Security Conference (Model UN) 0900-2100
Sun 2 Mar 2014 West Point Security Conference (Model UN) 1100-2315
Mon 3 Mar 2014 0700-2315
Tue 4 Mar 2014 Division Heads 0700-2315
Wed 5 Mar 2014  Dean’s Staff Liaisons 0700-2315
Thu 6 Mar 2014  Founders Day Dinner / DAD Diversity Visit  Bassett Farewell / All Library Staff Corbin Forum 0700-2315
Fri 7 Mar 2014 DAD Diversity Visit Week in Review Corbin Forum 0700-2100

USMA Library Metrics

USMA Library tracks a number of key statistics to measure service levels. These are their stories …

27JAN-2FEB 3FEB-9FEB 10FEB-16FEB 17FEB-23FEB
Access Services
Items Charged Out 572 789 1,216 669
Gate Count 3,766 3,735 3,666 3,623
ILL Article Requests 32 9 22 28
ILL Book Requests 20 27 31 27
Administrative Services
DV Tours 1 0 0 1
Significant Events Hosted 2 2 2 3
Events/Meetings Attended 26 19 17 15
Information Gateway
Reference Questions 21 72 101 37
Library Instruction Sessions 5 1 3 0
Cadets Attending Sessions 77 15 42 0
Materials Processing
Items Added – Books 88 54 61 206
Items Added – Digital 1 0 3,829 429
Items Added – GovDocs 280 68 106 194
Items Added – Other 13 4 26 0
Continuing Resource Check-Ins 80 58 47 161
Special Collections & Archives
Reference Inquiries 41 41 21 31
Research Visits < 1 hour 7 4 8 4
Research Visits < 1 day 2 5 6 5
Research Visits > 1 day 0 2 0 1
Instruction Sessions 7 1 5 2
Cadets Taught 103 17 96 36
Systems Management
Library Home Page Visits 2,817 3,594 4,870 3,179
LibGuides Visits 387 490 759 397
Digital Collections Visits 257 264 270 276
Facebook Visits 15 30 14
Public Printer Prints 3,350 3,754 4,172 3,167
Public Printer Copies 350 264 257 303
Public Printer Scans 29 22 11 34

Food for Thought

A few quotations from the past week about libraries, information, technology, and the future

  • “To be sure, Berkeley is an exception: according to the National Science Foundation, just 18.4% of computer science degrees were given to women (as of 2010), a trend that has been steadily decreasing since 1991, when it was a more impressive 29.6%. In an email, Professor Dan Garcia, who taught the Berkeley course last spring, tells us that he attributes the gender flip to a drastic transformation in the curriculum, including team-based project learning, opened-sourced materials, and opportunities to become teaching assistants. “The course & curriculum really does capture the “Beauty and Joy” of computing; learning can be a lot of fun,” he writes.” – Women Outnumber Men For The First Time In Berkeley’s Intro To Computer Science Course | TechCrunch
  • “The federal government subsidizes this academic aristocracy (made more exclusive by elite highly endowed schools giving admission preferences for children of alumni) in several ways. Big endowments such as Harvard’s probably often reap at least $1 billion annually from capital gains. They pay no income taxes on those gains; individuals pay 23.8 percent. They also pay no income taxes on dividend and interest income. The donations that form the endowments are deductible against donor income taxes, giving rich people the incentive to give to their already rich colleges, which in turn give preferences to alumni children.” – Cut Off Harvard to Save America – Bloomberg
  • “In 1984, it cost $10,000 a year to go to Duke University. Today, it’s $60,000 a year. “It’s staggering,” says Duke freshman Max Duncan, “especially considering that’s for four years.” But according to Jim Roberts, executive vice provost at Duke, that’s actually a discount. “We’re investing on average about $90,000 in the education of each student,” he says. Roberts is not alone in making the claim. In fact, it’s one most elite research institutions point to when asked about rising tuition.” – Duke: $60,000 A Year For College Is Actually A Discount : Planet Money : NPR
  • “Success can come from being in the right place at the right time. But it usually takes years spent building a culture, facilitating talent, making investment, and then seizing on the right moment.” – What the Netherlands’ complete dominance in speed skating says about success – Quartz
  • “The deal will also transform the debate over network neutrality regulation. Officially, Comcast’s deal with Netflix is about interconnection, not traffic discrimination. But it’s hard to see a practical difference between this deal and the kind of tiered access that network neutrality advocates have long feared. Network neutrality advocates are going to have to go back to the drawing board.” – Comcast’s deal with Netflix makes network neutrality obsolete
  • “The college of about 600 undergraduates announced last month it will eliminate 22 of its 52 faculty positions; it has cut 23 staff members and 16 of its 31 academic programs. College President Steven Titus said the goal of the cuts, which trimmed $3 million from a $20 million operating budget, are to get the college ready to grow. “We think there are opportunities to really move from a small local residential liberal arts college to a more regional institution,” Titus said. Others are less optimistic about what the cuts mean for the future of Iowa Wesleyan, a 171-year-old college in southeast Iowa.” – After deep cuts, can Iowa Wesleyan rebound? | Inside Higher Ed
  • “About 11.5% of student loan balances are 90 days delinquent or in default and that figure is often reported low because it does not include student loans in deferment or forbearance and the reason the loans are in that status is because people can’t afford them.” – Student Loans Continue to Be Ticking Time Bomb | Steve Rhode
  • “In an effort to increase access to this data, we are now revising our data-sharing policy for all PLOS journals: authors must make all data publicly available, without restriction, immediately upon publication of the article. Beginning March 3rd, 2014, all authors who submit to a PLOS journal will be asked to provide a Data Availability Statement, describing where and how others can access each dataset that underlies the findings. This Data Availability Statement will be published on the first page of each article.” – PLOS’ New Data Policy: Public Access to Data – EveryONE
  • “Sixteen of the papers appeared in publications by Springer, and more than 100 were published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. The fraudulent papers were identified by Cyril Labbé, a computer scientist at Joseph Fourier University, in Grenoble, France. He developed a way to detect manuscripts produced by software called SCIgen. The program, invented by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2005, builds papers from randomly combined strings of words. Its inventors created it to prove that conferences would easily accept fraudulent papers.” – Publishers Withdraw More Than 120 Fake, Computer-Generated Papers – The Ticker – Blogs – The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • “Convenience technologies supposedly free us to focus on what matters, but sometimes the part that matters is what gets eliminated. Everyone knows that it is easier to drive to the top of a mountain than to hike; the views may be the same, but the feeling never is. By the same logic, we may evolve into creatures that can do more but find that what we do has somehow been robbed of the satisfaction we hoped it might contain.” – Why Making Technology Easier to Use Isn’t Always Good : The New Yorker
  • “What surprised us,” says Susanna Loeb, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, “was how clear the distinction was between math and English language arts, with math teachers teaching almost exclusively subject-specific skills and English teachers teaching skills that affect students’ later outcomes across other subjects.” The researchers examined the performances of 700,000 students in New York City in third through eighth grade from 2003 to 2010.” – Good English teachers improve math scores for students | Futurity
  • “University administrators have discovered that, to a remarkable degree, the more they charge for what they’re offering, the more people will want to buy it.” – How a Louis Vuitton bag can explain the higher education bubble – The Week

Excerpted from Infoneer Pulse, a digital commonplace book curated by Christopher Barth.