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teaching:electronic-access [2019/02/08 21:03] (current)
seanburns created
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 +<​markdown>​
 +# Electronic Access
 +## Date: Tue 20 Feb 2019 
  
 +## Samples and Healy (2014)
 +
 +Samples and Healy (2014) provide a nice framework for thinking about
 +issues with electronic access. They include two broad categories,
 +*proactive troubleshooting* and *reactive troubleshooting* of access.
 +They include examples of each, where: ​
 +
 +* proactive troubleshooting of access: "​defined as troubleshooting
 +    access problems before they are identified by a patron"​. Some
 +    examples include:
 +      * "​letting public-facig library staff know about planned
 +            database downtime"​
 +      * "doing a complete inventory to make sure that every database
 +            paid for is in fact '​turned on'
 +* reactive troubleshoot of access: "​defined as troubleshooting access
 +    issues as problems are identified and reported by a patron"​. Some
 +    examples include:
 +      * "​fixing broken links"
 +      * "​fixing incorrect coverage date ranges in the catalog"​
 +      * "​patron education about accessing full text"
 +
 +The goal here, as suggested by Samples and Healy, is to maximize
 +proactive troubleshooting and to minimize reactive troubleshooting. That
 +is, to prevent the problem from happening in the first place. Samples
 +and Healy'​s report is a great example of why we call the field *library
 +science*. The purpose of making librarianship a science was based on a
 +need to not just rigorize the field, but also a need to systematically
 +study the problems of the field and to generalize solutions based on
 +such systematic study. The project they describe does just that. The
 +librarians had identified a problem that had grown "​organically,"​
 +collected and analyzed data, and then generalized it by outlining a
 +"​detailed workflow"​ to "​improve the timeliness and accuracy of
 +electronic resource work." Practically,​ not only does a study like this
 +promise improved productivity and better work flows that help better job
 +and patron satisfaction,​ but it could also help librarians identify the
 +kinds of software solutions that will align with their workflows and
 +patron information behaviors.
 +
 +There are a few key quotes in this article. The first one speaks against
 +a common assumption about electronic resources, especially those provided
 +by vendors:
 +
 +> The impression that once a resource is acquired, it is then just
 +> '​accessible'​ belies the actual, shifting nature of electronic
 +> resources, where continual changes in URLs, domain names, or
 +> incompatible metadata causes articles and ebooks to be available one
 +> day, but not the next.
 +
 +Thus, unlike a printed work in a print-only era that, once cataloged,
 +may be shelved and left there for decades or longer without any problems
 +of access, electronic resources require constant and active attention to
 +maintain their accessibility. Ebooks, for example, can cause metadata
 +problems. Often, what's important about an ebook is the chapters it
 +includes, and thus metadata about the components of an ebook is
 +important, as well as the links to those chapters in the discovery
 +systems. Thus, note the difference between item-level cataloging and
 +title-level cataloging, as Samples and Healy describe, and how confusing
 +and problematic this can be when considering different genres and what
 +those genres contain. Or, note that they discuss how a series of links
 +are involved starting from the source of discovery, e.g., an OPAC, to
 +the retrieved item, and how difficult it might be in determining which
 +of these links, and thus services, is broken when access becomes
 +problematic.
 +
 +Let me highlight a few key findings from their report:
 +
 +- Workflows: why does this keep coming up? It's because workflows help
 +  automate a process -- simplify and smooth out what needs to be done,
 +  and because this is only possible when things are standardized.
 +- Staffing: we'll talk about more in a future forum, but part of the
 +  problem here is that ERM has had a major impact on organizational
 +  structure, but one where different libraries have responded
 +  differently. This lack of organizational standardization has its
 +  benefits regarding overall management practices and cultures, but it
 +  also has huge drawbacks -- and that's the difficulty in establishing
 +  effective, generalized workflows that include key participants,​ and to
 +  minimize as many dependencies on any one person.
 +- Tracking: if there'​s no tracking, there'​s no way to systematically
 +  identify patterns in problems. And if that's not possible, then
 +  there'​s no way to solve those problems proactively. It's just all
 +  reactive, and reactive troubleshooting,​ as Samples and Healy point
 +  out, results in poor patron experiences. We'll talk more about
 +  tracking when we get to the week on Evaluation and Statistics.
 +
 +## Carter & Traill (2017)
 +
 +I like the Carter and Traill (2017) article because we often get the
 +line that discovery systems are a great solution to all the disparate
 +discipline based resources that librarians subscribe to in order to
 +search their collections. Or, if we do think about problems with such
 +systems, we often are presented with a basic information retrieval
 +problem, such that the larger the collection to search, the more likely
 +a relevant item will get lost in the mix. But as Carter and Traill point
 +out, these systems also tend to reveal access problems as more patrons
 +are exposed, through the discovery system, that access to particular
 +items might be broken. The authors provide a checklist, as a result of
 +their analysis, that is helpful in tracking issues, and thus, helpful in
 +improving existing workflows.
 +
 +## Buhler and Cataldo (2016)
 +
 +The Buhler and Cataldo (2016) article provides an important reminder
 +that all the stuff electronic resource librarians do is for the patron,
 +and reminds us that the internet and the web has flattened the genres,
 +making it much more difficult to distinguish among things like magazine
 +articles, news articles, journal articles, encyclopedia articles,
 +ebooks, etc. Even though the Buhler and Cataldo reading is focused on
 +students, other studies have hinted at the same issue they describe
 +across other populations. Also, it's important, if possible, to
 +recognize these issues as ERM librarians and work to resolve them in the
 +ways that you would be able to.
 +
 +Back to the article -- I am in my early middle aged years, and so I grew
 +up being able to easily tell the difference between an encyclopedia
 +article, a journal article, a magazine article, a chapter in a book, a
 +handbook, an index, a dictionary, etc. because I grew up with them
 +around and because they were tangible things that looked different.
 +Today, a traditional first year college student, however, was born in
 +the year 2000 and grew up reading around the turn of the first decade.
 +The problem this raises is that although electronic resources are
 +electronic or digital, they are still based on genres that originated in
 +the print age, yet they lack the physical characteristics that help
 +distinguish one from the other. E.g., what's the difference between a
 +longer *NY Times* article (traditionally a newspaper article) and an
 +article in the *New Yorker* (traditionally a magazine article) today.
 +Aside from some aesthetic differences between the two, they are both web
 +pages, and it's not altogether obvious that we can tell, as regular
 +users, that they'​re entirely different genres based on any kind of
 +cursory examination. However, there are important informational
 +differences between the two, how they were written, how they were
 +edited, who they were written by, and etc that make them different even
 +today. Even *Wikipedia* articles pose this problem. Citing an
 +encyclopedia article was never an accepted practice, but this was only
 +true for general encyclopedias. It was generally okay to cite articles
 +from special encyclopedias because they focused on limited subject
 +matters like specific areas of art, music, science, culture, and thus
 +were usually more in-depth in their coverage. Examples include the
 +*Encyclopedia of GIS*, the *Encyclodia of Evolution*, *The Kenctucky
 +African American Encyclopedia*,​ *The Encyclopedia of Virtual Art Carving
 +Toraja--Indonesia*,​ and so forth. And nowadays, there are some studies
 +that show that *Wikipedia* does provide that kind of in-depth coverage
 +of some subject matters, thus helping to flatten the encyclopedia genre.
 +
 +The flattening holds true for things like *Google*. The best print
 +analogy for *Google* is that of an index, which was used to look up
 +keywords that would point to source material. See the links in the
 +discussion post for examples. The main difference between such indexes
 +and *Google* is that the indexes were often produced to cover specific
 +publications,​ like a newspaper, or specific areas, like the *Social
 +Science Citation Index* or the *Science Citation Index*, both of which
 +are actual, documented, historical precursors to *Google* and to *Google
 +Scholar*. But, today, these search engines are considered source
 +material (e.g, "I found it on Google"​). Few perhaps would have
 +considered a print index as source material, but rather as a
 +**reference** item, since it *referred* users to sources. Now it's all
 +mixed up and who can blame anyone.
 +
 +Let's talk about all of this on the board.
 +
 +* [Photos of the New York Times Index][1]
 +* [Photos of the Newspaper Index to the Washington Post][2]
 +* [Photos of the Reader'​s Guide to Periodical Literature][3]
 +
 +[1]:​https://​photos.app.goo.gl/​6wqu02M7OQzyJnCG2
 +[2]:​https://​photos.app.goo.gl/​JpnqxzZ44dhM06cq2
 +[3]:​https://​photos.app.goo.gl/​Y5ronALog63zIxwr1
 +</​markdown>​
teaching/electronic-access.txt ยท Last modified: 2019/02/08 21:03 by seanburns