Winter Update 2017
Welcome back to all! The Chester Fritz Library (CFL) would like to update everyone on various projects in progress.
On October 25, 2016, we officially opened the renovated Student Reference & Research Area, on CFL’s 2nd floor. First Lady Debbie Kennedy, Provost Tom DiLorenzo, Student Government President Brandon Beyer, Student Government VP Blake Andert, and Dean of Libraries & Information Resources Stephanie Walker cut the ribbon, and many wonderful guests joined us. This was CFL’s first renovation since 1981. We’re now working with many stakeholders to consider possible additional mini-renovations to improve student study space, space for faculty-student collaborations, updated technological facilities and services, and more. These mini-renovations won’t interfere with the major renovations needed; we’re specifically selecting projects that will allow us to show progress in making the Library a great place to study, collaborate, and work, for all users, without requiring major change upon commencement of other renovations. We’ve received approval from the State to conduct fundraising.
Open Educational Resources (OERs)
OERs are truly “taking off” at UND. Our first pilot of OERs for use as course materials was hugely successful. Prof. Thomasine Heitkamp and Dean Stephanie Walker worked closely with faculty and staff to write 2 successful grants to NDUS. The first grant was related to adoption of OERs by faculty; the second involved the creation of an Open Access edition of Dr. Elwyn Robinson’s History of North Dakota, still the definitive history of our state.
For the first grant, the OERs Working Group worked with faculty to help them adapt OERs for their courses. We began with Profs. Dana Harsell (Business), Fred Remer (Aviation Meteorology), Liz Legerski (Sociology), and Virginia Clinton (then Psychology, now Education). Over the summer, they worked with CILT, CFL, and others. The first round of OERs saved UND students an estimated $1 million - $1.6 million, on an investment of just over $40,000, and doesn’t include savings to students at other NDUS institutions and beyond, who may also select resources adapted or created at UND.
For the second grant, Zeineb Yousif, our Digital Initiatives Librarian, began working on optimizing the text of The History of North Dakota for various platforms, ensuring files were ADA-compliant, and adding digital features, such as links to historical sites and integration of digital mapping software. We partnered with NDSU Press, the University of Nebraska Press, the Digital Press @ UND, the Northern Plains Heritage Foundation, and others. The project is well underway, and will be completed in time for a grand opening before the fiscal year end.
On October 27, 2016, UND proudly hosted the 2nd Annual OERs Summit. Keynote Speaker Nicole Allen of SPARC joined speakers and honored guests from across the state to discuss OERs and their impact.
We’ve now begun our second round of OER work. We’re moving from the pilot phase to more solidly establishing OERs as an option. Faculty may always, of course, select whatever texts and resources are best for their courses; our goal is not to alter that at all. Rather, our goal is to make it easier for faculty to select OERs if they wish, and to establish them as a well-supported option. OERs aren’t likely to be available for all courses in all fields, but we want to ensure that for faculty who are interested, we can provide all necessary help. To that end, UND submitted 7 grant applications to NDUS for the second round of OER funding; 5 were successful (Art, Math, History, Business Communications, English Composition), and we’ll be speaking with faculty involved in the other proposals to see if there are other funding options to explore. We’ve also begun discussions with Student Government, the Office of the Provost, and others on ways to continue OER support, so that students can continue to benefit. Stay tuned for more news about these projects.
Institutional Repository (IR)
The UND Libraries and other campus partners have begun the process of seeking to establish an IR. It’s critical that UND develop this repository; making research data accessible and available openly is now a key component of grants from major funding agencies such as NSF, NEH, NIH, and others. A small working group was established to draft an RFP and accompanying business case; the group included representatives from CTS, faculty, staff, and UND Libraries. Members are: Stephanie Walker (Dean of Libraries & Information Resources), Will Martin (Head of Library Digital Initiatives, Systems, & Services), Zeineb Yousif (Digital Initiatives Librarian), Stephen Nonte (Cataloging & Metadata Librarian), Kelly Thormodson (Interim Director of the Harley French Health Sciences Library), Lori Swinney (Director of CILT), Madhavi Marasinghe (NDUS – Director of Enterprise Services), and Prof. Travis DeSell (Computer Science). Dr. Aaron Bergstrom (Computational Research Center) also reviewed the draft proposal. It was submitted to the NDUS CIOs council for review; if approved, we’ll work with Purchasing to post the RFP. We plan to host open vendor presentations by finalists; all will be welcome! Again, stay tuned!
We’d like to express our gratitude to President Kennedy for his strategic reinvestment of $1 million in CFL in 2016. This allowed us to continue to provide many critical resources for research and teaching over the past year. We were unable to entirely escape cuts, as journal prices regularly rise an average of 6-8% annually, but this greatly diminished the impact that would otherwise have been felt across UND.
Also, at the end of last fiscal year, we were able to use unexpended book funds in some disciplines to purchase digital collections in those subjects from our “wish list” of resources that users (mainly faculty) have requested. We now have permanent access to 3 more JSTOR collections: JSTOR’s Arts & Sciences III, IV, and VII. To access our JSTOR titles on-campus or remotely, go to the Library’s databases page and go to “J”. These are one-time purchases, with a small annual maintenance fee, so we were able to purchase these without incurring major new annual costs. Thus, we’ve added 219 journal titles to our collections. We also recently added several Open Access JSTOR e-books. Our collections are also benefiting from our work with OERs and the IR; we plan to add OERs to our IR, to improve accessibility and long-term preservation.
While we review collection expenditures, we’re taking the opportunity to do comprehensive reviews. In academic libraries, there are always items that were purchased long ago that were perhaps critical for programs offered at the time, or were of major interest to a user or users who may have since departed. Because UND has never undertaken a comprehensive collections review, there is some material on our shelves or in our system that is no longer optimal. Most libraries review collections regularly; all academic libraries, without exception, participate in deaccessioning. UND is overdue for a collection review, and we’ve been working hard on this project this fiscal year. The review will continue throughout the next fiscal year; this is a complex project, and we’re approaching it very conservatively.
For books, we’re continuing with the deaccessioning project, proceeding with deliberation and caution. Lists of materials to be considered for removal, based on multiple professional criteria, are being shared. We began with duplicate materials and items in such poor condition they shouldn’t be retained (crumbling, mildewed, etc.), and are proceeding with more criteria, such as usage, publication date, availability in HathiTrust, language, and discipline-specific considerations. Lists of items to be considered for removal will first be shared with the disciplines involved, and then posted to the regular deaccessioning list available to all UND. Anyone may make a notation requesting an item be returned to the stacks or set aside for them personally. This process will take at least a year, we estimate.
Journals and databases are the most expensive items in our collections, and have recurring annual costs. For example, Science Direct, a package of 2000+ scholarly journals, costs UND over $700,000 annually. Usage is high; the cost per article downloaded works out to an average of about $1.20. Clearly, the value is high – but so is the price. We’re in a challenging budget time, and must make cuts. We’re working with faculty to discuss what items are most critical, examining criteria such as usage, importance to the discipline, support for undergraduate and graduate programs, content overlap with other packages, and more. We’re making all efforts to ensure that all programs have resources. We’ll be providing lists of items to which we subscribe as well as those we’re unable to renew. We welcome constructive feedback from members of the UND community. If you wish to tell us a resource is very useful and shouldn’t be cut, we’d very much like to hear that; however, we’d also like your thoughts on what other resources from the materials to which we subscribe could be cut instead to be meet budget targets. When resources are cut, we’re not unaware that they’re valuable – we know cuts will inevitably be painful. But funding is limited. The average price increase this year for UND subscriptions was 6.5%; the average each year, according to the American Library Association, is 6-8%. No library’s budget rises 6%-8% annually. We realize CFL has cut resources every year over the past decade; with rising journal and database prices, UND is far from alone. All libraries – even at the wealthiest institutions - have faced these issues and made cuts. In 2012, Harvard President Drew Gilpin-Faust noted that even Harvard couldn’t afford everything. Recent articles in Science and Nature highlight struggles with publishers, their pricing and bundling practices, and Open Access; several entire countries have developed coalitions for licensing, including Britain, Germany, Canada, Taiwan, the Netherlands, and others, and still they have difficulties affording the journal packages. CFL has cut staffing, equipment, and many other budget items repeatedly over the past decade, so our options are limited for the future. We hope we can rely on your support, input, and feedback as we all work together to support teaching and research within our budgets. We specifically request that you let us know every database, journal, book, a/v resource, or other item that you are seeking to access. We need to know exactly what faculty need, in order to make the best possible choices from among the many options available, especially in this difficult budget time. We’re utilizing usage statistics, and subject librarians are intimately involved in this process; we’ll be reaching out to faculty department liaisons, and I and they stand ready to attend any department meeting or special meeting to discuss the situation. As mentioned above, strategic reinvestment kept us from having to make drastic cuts. However, we’re now making exceptionally difficult decisions. A list of current cuts made for this fiscal year is now available on the Library’s website. Given current budget realities, the list will likely grow.
Thank you, and we look forward to working together in all these areas.