CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited
North American Serials Interest Group Conference (NASIG): Serials in the park
North American Serials Interest Group Conference (NASIG): Serials in the park
Kyle D. Winward
The 18th Annual conference of the North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG), titled, "Serials in the Park" was held June 26-29, 2003 in Portland, Oregon at Portland State University. The NASIG conference featured a variety of programs, workshops and poster sessions of interest to serialists. Although this is a brief article on the conference, Kyle Winward provides in-depth reports on very exciting and timely programs.
"How are electronic journals changing patterns of usage?"
Presenters: Carol Tenopir, University of Tennessee; Donald W. King, University of Pittsburg and King Research; Peter Boyce and Carol Hansen Montgomery, Drexel University.
The first panelist to speak was Carol Tenopir of the University of Tennessee. Tenopir introduced the panel and provided background on the framework of the panelists' studies. Additionally, she presented some statistics on the breadth of periodical titles: according to Ulrich's Periodical Directory, presently there are in total 250,000 periodicals, 15,000 scholarly journals, of which 12,000 are available online. Other sources of electronic publication mentioned were e-print archives, author-owned Web sites and listservs.
The studies in which the four respective panelists engaged were based on research data from Donald W. King of the University of Pittsburg and King Research. These studies began in 1977 and continue to the present. The studies have compared university and non-university scholars: 16,000 scientists and social scientists and 1,000+ members of the American Astronomical Society. The research has focused on general behavior (reading patterns) and critical analysis (usage purpose of information obtained).
To date the studies have shown that scientists and social scientists are reading more in less time, personal subscriptions have gone down, the amount of reading from separates (e-print archives) has increased, online searching has increased and the browsing of complete journals has decreased.
Tenopir continued by defining and detailing three historical stages of electronic journal-reading behavior:
Early (1990-1995): pre-Web, print sources predominate.
Evolving (2000-): mixture of print and electronic, 35 per cent of total readings from electronic sources.
Advanced (2002-): continued mixture of print and electronic, 80 per cent of total readings from electronic sources.
Tenopir referenced the article authored by her and Donald King: "Patterns of journal usage": www.dlib.org/dlib/may03/king/05king.html
Carol Hansen Montgomery spoke about her research at Drexel University. Initially, Montgomery spoke of the migration from print to electronic journals at her institution. In 1998 Drexel University had nil e-journals titles. However, by 2003 they had migrated to a total of approximately 12,000 e-journal titles. Presently Drexel University has 400 print subscriptions. Their print titles consist of popular titles, arts and archaeology, library science, handful of inexpensive sci-tech titles, and titles which are not available in electronic format.
Montgomery also spoke of per use costs of e-journals. She has estimated the costs to be for individual subscriptions $6.00; publisher packages $3.00; aggregators $2.00; full-text $1.00. Additionally, per use costs of electronic and print journals: e-journal $2.00; unbound print $6.00; bound print (space cost) $30.00.
With regard to reading behavior, Montgomery found that the journal articles read came from the following sources: personal subscription 42 per cent; library provided 46 per cent; and document delivery 12 per cent. Montgomery's conclusions from her study were that journal reading increases with online access and the browsing of print journals remains stable.
Next at the podium was Donald W. King of Pittsburg University and King Research. King began with some summarization of his findings over the years. His conclusions were that, on average, readers save 15 minutes by reading online versus going to the library. A total of 70-75 per cent of all e-journal readings are printed out, and scientists in non-university settings frequently use reference librarians for difficult questions.
Some other figures that King detailed were that in 1977 scientists on average had 5.5 personal subscriptions, whereas in 2002 the figure had decreased to 2.2. Population studies also showed that scientists prefer abstracting and indexing services, whereas students preferred Web search engines. Additionally, scientist productivity was found to have a positive correlation with high levels of reading.
Peter Boyce of Drexel University presented some information of university and non-university scholars. Boyce found that the most productive members of the respective communities read twice as much as those defined as less productive, additionally, that 80 per cent of readings by university faculty occurred in their office.
The audience had some interesting questions about correlations between print fees and article printing – the panelists had not measured these data. However, Peter Boyce did mention that users are more likely to print out PDF versions than HTML versions but are more likely to browse HTML than PDF versions. Other interesting questions included the feasibility of gathering usage statistics from personal subscriptions. Carol Hansen Montgomery responded that, since most personal subscriptions are password-protected and confidential, it would be difficult to gather such information.
"Helping manage the e-journal forest: do you need an agent anymore?"
Presenters: Philip Wallas, EBSCO; Selden Lamoureux, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill; Steve Bosch, University of Arizona.
Phillip Wallas of EBSCO began the presentation by listing his thoughts on why to use agents. Wallas's contention was that the utilization of subscription agents is more efficient than going publisher direct. Specifically, he listed certain tasks that agents have performed well: track and communicate newly available e-journals, negotiation and licensing, maintaining subscriber information, foreign currency capabilities, and expedited registration.
Selden Lamoureux of the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill responded, since libraries are already communicating and negotiating with publishers during the ordering and registration process, why not go direct? Also, Lamoureux listed some barriers to efficient procedures with agents: varying business models (i.e. terminology), difficult to trust vendors during negotiation, too much time spent on translating licenses (i.e. selector overload). Additionally, Lamoureux noted that she would prefer to use their in-house ILS rather than use the vendor's database for e-invoicing.
Steve Bosch of the University of Arizona presented a hybrid solution to the agent/publisher direct debate, wherein, depending on local concerns, both options could be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Bosch detailed reasons why choosing to utilize and remain with subscription agents is appropriate for many libraries. In particular, using subscription agents reduces local processing of financial transactions. Also, the title-by-title invoices provided by vendors may be preferable to the typical one line invoice received for publisher packages. However, as Bosch noted, the traditional roles of vendors are changing and some services will no longer be needed. Bosch proposed new service models for vendors including increased e-journal management and tracking services. Bosch closed by posing that there is not going to be a simple answer to the question, "Do you need an agent any more?" Maybe the real question might be "Do you know why you would still need an agent?"
Following the presentation, many suggestions were proposed and many questions were presented by audience members. One attendee offered the comment that large publisher packages were "the dinosaurs of tomorrow". A concern was expressed about publishers refusing to go through subscription agents because of agent fees – it was suggested that publishers rethink this. Many audience comments centred on license standards and simplification – it was evident that these issues were of prime concern. Philip Wallas mentioned that vendors help develop the Cox license standard www.licensingmodels.com A question was brought up regarding communication activity between serials groups (such as NASIG) and publishers. Steve Bosch responded that there was a joint American Library Association/American Association of Publishers group which has been working on licensing issues. It was suggested that agents should do more tracking of archiving rights and notification of backfile availability. Lastly, it was suggested that more publishers should attend future NASIG conferences and be available to listen to librarians' concerns. It was evident that the length and depth of the audience participation reflected the immediacy and importance of this debate.
The conference proceedings for the 2003 conference will be published in spring 2004 and an electronic version of the proceedings is available on the NASIG Web site at: www.nasig.org/ The next NASIG conference will be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 17 -20, 2004.
Kyle D. Winward (email@example.com) is the Assistant Collection Development Librarian at Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri, USA.