Charleston Conference 2014: issues in book and serials acquisition

With three of us attending the Charleston Conference, our goal was to

ship  at sunset

cover as many of the concurrent sessions as we could; divide and conquer if you will. For me, there were three stand-out sessions. One was the discussion of International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI), an ISO standard that is a critical component in Linked Data applications, such as VIAF (Virtual International Authority File). Like an Orcid ID, this unique identifier can aid in disambiguation. ISNI is created by an international consortium that includes national libraries and is applied based on one’s publication history. In contrast, anyone with an email address can sign up for and establish an Orcid.  Though the two identifiers have different missions, ISNI and Orcid have established a plan for cooperation in future. Western Libraries may wish to consider how we might apply these identifiers in our work with researchers and scholars. For example, applying an identifier to our researchers will allow us to quickly identify their research output, collect alternate metrics, and help them preserve their work and their data.

Secondly, I participated in a seminar on creating sustainable digital projects.  Often projects are funded by start-up grants but lose traction over time. If projects are not tended, content becomes stale and usage begins to drop. As technology changes, the project may become incompatible with current standards.  How might one finance the continued upkeep of a digital project? Looking through the lens of the case study of the eBird digital project at Cornell University, we considered how we might apply Cornell’s strategies to our own projects: Look for opportunities to reach a wider audience beyond the academic research endeavor and seek to partner with others. Look for ways to monetize a product, while at the same time maintaining your open access mandate. Consider potential users, and think especially of ones who are perhaps outside of your immediate sphere. A genuine understanding of the needs of various stakeholders will allow you to successfully engage your users, and as a result, attract sponsorship.

The third standout session was Introduction to Data Curation, hosted by UNC, Chapel Hill with Cal Lee and Jonathan Crabtree. Like other academic libraries and archives, we are increasingly called upon to wrangle research data as one component of an institution’s digital curation responsibilities. We touched on the Digital Curation model, from ingest and authentication to preservation and access. It is important that data, like other digital objects, be preserved in a way that is open and accessible in order to promote reuse, as well as afford the ability to migrate it to future standards. Jonathan emphasized the need for librarians to be involved throughout the research process, so that there is complete understanding of the data and the metadata needs for deposit into whichever repository is most appropriate to suit the needs, the profession or the context of that data.  We looked specifically at Dataverse (natch) and had a chance to play around in it. Dataverse was created for Social Science data, including its own metadata standard, DDI, however they are expanding to include more disciplines. I also had fun exploring MD5 hash strings or using a tool like  Bit Curator (which are important in verifying a content’s integrity) as well as spending some quality time with Liz Hill, who also attended this 2-day workshop. This workshop had the best swag. We made good use of the pedometer each of us clocking at least 11, 000 steps every day we were in beautiful Charleston

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