CMCAB June Meeting

The Jisc Collection Management Community Advisory Board met on 29th June.  Here is a summary of our discussions:

  1. As usual an update on CCM Tools & Copac activity was provided. Highlights included:
  • The CCM Tools pilot with the University of Sydney is progressing. We are working on providing a MARC exchange upload facility.  Once established this functionality will be rolled out for use by other users who don’t contribute data to Copac, enabling them to obtain de-duplicated results sets featuring their own data.
  • As well as the CM@Bodleian Libraries Book Storage Facility event, featured in the April blog post, we have run 6 ‘Introduction to CCM Tools’ events around the country which have been well received and reached out to many colleagues with little or no experience of using the Tools. A new series will be offered in the autumn.
  • Adjustments to the ‘My library groups’ feature (announced via the lis-collection-mgmt email list) were time consuming. However the Board agreed that the changes improved functionality.  Access for non-members of the UK Federation has been set up and tested.  It will be rolled out to Copac contributors in September.
  • A research report into low or non-use of the CCM Tools was presented and discussed. The concept and value of the Tools is recognised but there remains some confusion about accessibility for non-RLUK members which we will continue to address.  Board members commented that the key to expanding use is for the Tools to be embedded in workflows and that this will only happen if they are perceived as supporting a business need in institutions.
  • The Copac team are juggling maintaining data loads to Copac with increasing NBK activity. Various improvements to workflows are being implemented to help manage this, including a dashboard for new contributors to collate and update information about their data.  It will be rolled out to more contributors as part of the NBK work.
  1. CM@ Hull Event, 7th September

Planning for this event is under way with a range of speakers interested in contributing.  A sub-group will be convened to progress detailed plans.

NB Bookings are now open for this event at: https://cmhull.eventbrite.co.uk

  1. White Rose Consortium (WRC) / GreenGlass update

Latest news on the WRC collaborative collection benchmarking project was provided:

  • Much work has been done comparing holdings results from GreenGlass and CCM tools. This involved close analysis of data through manual checking.
  • The analysis has identified variations in metadata between the three libraries which have inhibited consolidation of records for comparison. It is only through looking at large amounts of data that the true nature of issues becomes clear.
  • It is vital when embarking on any benchmarking project of this nature to fully understand the complexities of the data. Details such as changes in stock locations over years have an impact and the history of data creation and stock management have a big impact.
  • Further testing will be done and a report will be provided to Jisc. The testing has been challenging but work has continued to understand the level of reported overlap between the libraries.

The report was followed by a discussion about the nature of bibliographic metadata, whether metadata was improving over time and how the NBK may be able to support work to clean up and enhance metadata.  Levels of awareness of the issue are increasing in the community and the CMCAB will undoubtedly revisit it.  Colleagues from the WRC will provide a further update at the next meeting.

  1. National Bibliographic Knowledgebase

An overview of key milestones and principles for the NBK was provided:

  • The Beta service will be available in January 2018 and in January 2019 the full service will go live.
  • Phase 2 of data loading is currently taking place including WHELF libraries, existing Copac contributors who have provided reloads and some new libraries.
  • The NBK is essentially a database which will be the cornerstone for a range of Jisc services. These will include a cataloguing service and collection management tools through a login for Jisc members and a freely available resource discovery service.  Other services may be developed further down the line either by Jisc or others making use of the data.
  • For collection management, we will experiment with pointing the CCM Tools at the developing NBK database later this year to assess how this affects functionality. It is likely that the ‘live’ CCM Tools service will continue to use Copac data until 2019.  Existing functionality will be maintained but we are hopeful improved functionality can be delivered both from improved data coverage and from enhanced data such as usage, circulation and condition/preservation data if libraries can provide it.

Discussion followed about the data sources which will be incorporated into the NBK and the fact that community consultation is a key part of the project and is incorporated into all phases.  It was requested that Board members encourage colleagues to get in touch both about contributing data but also to volunteer for focus groups and provide feedback in specific areas.

It was confirmed that the NBK is a Jisc project and database which is being built on our behalf by OCLC.

  1. UKRR

An update was provided on Phase 3 of the UKRR.  This will adopt the principle of a Principal Holding Library and non-members will be able to use the facility on a pay as you go basis.  After Phase 3 the UKRR will be a ‘self-service’ facility enabling scarcity checking to take place.  An update on plans for a UKRR for monographs will be provided at the next meeting following delivery of a feasibility report.

Dates for meetings in 2017/18 are: 17th October 2017, 8th February 2018 and 21st June 2018.

We welcome your comments and suggestions on the work of the CMCAB.

Collections Management @ Bodleian Libraries Book Storage Facility

On Thursday 30th March, Michael Williams and his team opened the doors of the Bodleian Libraries Book Storage Facility in Swindon, having given members of the Collection Management community a rare opportunity to visit.  Anne Worden, who visited from the University of Portsmouth, kindly agreed to us posting her report on our blog:

Visit to Bodleian Libraries Book Storage Facility, Swindon, 30/3/17

Oxford opened this facility in October 2010 as a replacement for multiple other stores, including a salt mine in Cheshire, which were becoming very expensive. It is in one corner of a 17 acre site which the university bought and they will be expanding the current warehouse over the next 4 years at the same time as building a store for the Oxford University museums.

The current capacity is 13 million items with 8.9m being stored, so about three quarters full. They “ingest” (accession) about 7,000 new items per week, making just under 400,000 each year. The conditions meet BS5454 and PD5454, with the temperature being 17.5°C (+ or – 1°C) and the humidity 52% (+ or – 5) – 15,000 sprinkler heads are in place in case of fire. Items are stored in acid free, archival quality, strong cardboard box trays.

Stock is stored on 11m high, German-engineered (no leaning forward!!), metal shelves which are 70m long with 31 narrow aisles between them. Three aisles contain a huge run of map cabinets spread over 5 floors. All other items are stored by size and most have a barcode stuck on the top left hand corner to aid quick retrieval – those that don’t have the barcode stuck onto them have the barcode on a slip of paper sticking out the top but this isn’t ideal as the barcodes get mixed up when people borrow several items like this at the same time. Six forklift trucks are used to enable 8 retrievals of stock a day between 7am and 10pm, Monday to Friday – seeing the pod of the forklift rise up 10m to get something then move forward at that height to the next retrieval was quite a sight!

They get approximately 19,500 requests each month, a figure which has increased year on year. They think the increase is due to the speed and reliability of the service – vans deliver to libraries around Oxford twice a day and if you order by 10.30am in the morning, you can have the book the same day. Unexpectedly, medium use stock has been stored there as well as low use stock, as librarians have discovered that putting copies into the store actually makes them more accessible to users in different libraries around Oxford because of the frequent delivery service.

In addition to the delivery service, they also provide a scanning service and scan about 50-60 items per week in term. The reader gets a link to a server and then has 2 weeks to access the article/chapter. The scan stays on their system for a term just in case of retrieval problems, then gets deleted. They have just dropped the price of scans from £4 to £2 in order to encourage more use of this service.

There are 22 staff working in shifts and the key contact is Michael Williams, Head of Storage and Logistics. Because they will have spare capacity for the foreseeable future, they are keen to encourage other universities to use the facility – Cambridge are currently storing their newer legal deposit collection there whilst they wait for their own store to be built. Stock for other institutions is stored on separate aisles so can’t get mixed up with the Oxford stock. Michael said that he is happy to provide price estimates based on exact requirements.

Jenny Yaacob and I came away extremely impressed by the scale and efficiency of the whole set-up. If we were to consider off-site storage for legacy items, I would certainly recommend investigating what they could offer us, as nothing we could do ourselves would match their skilled operation.

AW 31/3/17

 

Our first blog post and feedback from December’s workshop

We’re really pleased to launch our blog with this first official post for the Copac Collections Management project. Though we’ve been working steadily in this area for nearly a year now, we’ve done so, I’ll admit, slightly under the radar.  As we commence our second phase of development activity, it’s clear to us that we need to start more openly sharing our progress and lessons learned. Collections management, the freeing up of library space and at the same time the preservation of unique or rare items of importance to UK researchers are key strategic issues facing many libraries today; so we know our work is of real interest to the broader community.

If you would like to learn more about this project, we invite you to explore this site, where you can find more detailed information about our proposed approach, read our reports on work so far, and the use cases we’re testing the tools against. Between now and July 2012, this blog will be updated at least monthly with information on our progress so far. We’ll also be inviting you to give us feedback on approaches we’re taking.

The December Workshop

Though our blog is new, we have been actively engaging the community through other means.  Before the Christmas break, we invited contributors to Copac to attend a workshop in Leeds. The response to our invitation was overwhelmingly positive, and on December 5th over thirty attendees joined us in Leeds. This gave us an opportunity to discuss the project with the wider community, looking at broad collection management issues and gaining input into the direction for the continued development of the support tools and related work. It also helped us to identify libraries we could recruit to help us with the next phase of our work – i.e. testing the tools within their own institutional contexts and providing feedback.

It was certainly an energising day. Our colleagues gave presentations on the project and their uses of the tool, and throughout our discussions the overall reaction from the participants was very positive, with an appreciation of the benefits that the collection management tools could offer, as well as a general discussion of problem areas.

Broadly speaking, participants could immediately see the potential of the tools; but in our group discussions some interesting themes and questions emerged:

  1. The standard of cataloguing was raised, and the question of what the national libraries are doing about long term retention.
  2. There were concerns about pre-1800 material. This may need a lot of detailed information in a record to make retention decisions. etc.
  3. It was clear that non-catalogued materials need to be addressed; i.e. do we invest time money and effort in cataloguing this material?  There was agreement that the tool could be very useful in support this
  4. The tools could inform preservation decisions e.g. damaged items.
  5. We should consider providing regional or consortia views on the data
  6. Concerns were raised over the reliability and currency of records within Copac. Also, the quality of data in an institution’s own catalogue. In general, issues of trusting the data were raised – if results indicate ‘last copy’ how do we test validity of this?
  7. It was felt that the provision of guidelines and working principals for using the tools to provide the statistics and data that will inform productive dialogue with senior managers.
  8. The role of ebooks was also raised. Will they count as a trusted copy? In addition, could the tool help inform ebook deals and negotiations?
  9. It was suggested that the tools could be used to understand a collection in the context of the wider national collections, and that it might have a role to play as an international comparator tool – which may be useful for attracting international students.
  10. By highlighting subject collection strengths we might be able to encourage new researchers.

In addition, throughout the day broader strategic questions were raised over whether there should there be a national agreement to cover the transfer of unwanted material to other institutions, and also the need for a national agreement for retention decisions e.g. minimum number of copies. The role of the Legal Deposit libraries was also discussed, and it was clear that Legal Deposit libraries are facing the same space pressures as other libraries, and so looking seriously at rationalising their own collections and revisiting the criteria for ‘permanent’ retention.

As move forward, our energies now switch to refining the user interface for the tool, and determining which libraries we would like to work with us in this next phase of testing. We look forward to letting you know our progress.