Christina's LIS Rant

SSP09: Wrap up of day one

I wasn’t complete sure what to expect with this conference. There were some old acquaintances from the society publishers who spend a lot of time with the Physics-Astronomy-Mathematics Division at the Special Libraries Association (Hi Tony! Hi Terry!). I also spoke with a representative of IMLS, some other librarians, and Victor from Mendeley.

Some sessions had some people spouting marketing BS about impressions and conversions and librarians as checkbooks, but the majority were friendly and looking to better scholarly communication.

In the morning after the keynote, I went to We Have Seen the Future…. It is Us, which was about collaboration between libraries and publishers. It turns out that it was about collaborations between libraries special collections departments, for the most part, and their university presses. Interesting, but not something I can apply at my job. There are various efforts afoot to link the primary materials to the books and provide annotations and such – but I think that’s been the case for a few years.

In the second group of sessions, I went to Handhelds in Academia: Ebooks and Beyond. This was really great. The first speaker, Kent Anderson (NEJM), provided a nice overview of the various devices used to read ebooks, including detailed information on the Kindle and how loading content works. Other devices included the Sony eReader, the Illiad (?), and smart phones like the iPhone and the Pre. He made a great point – it’s not until these things worked for novels and leisure reading that they caught on. The New England Journal of Medicine is available on the Kindle, but it took about a year of work after they’d made the decision to get it there. Still, it’s not the same quality as the print or web edition.

The second speaker was David Seaman now of Dartmouth. He’s a really entertaining speaker. He had some great quotes like that devices like the Kindle are “aggressively non-social”. They are intended for individuals, you can’t annotate the same way, and even if you can, you can’t share the annotations, and you can’t even share the book. The students he queried don’t see Kindle as a device for them, because it only does one thing – “oh, my dad has one.” They provide access to their ebooks using SerialSolutions Summon – which is a discovery layer that sits on top of research databases, content sources, and the catalog. It looks like it indexes and caches selected sources, instead of being a federated search.

The third speaker (or speakers) talked about ArtStor’s iPhone app (which I was unable to find in the app store so must not be out yet). ArtStor provides access to images to be used by non-profits in research. They also provide tools to create groups and to study the images. Their scheme for authentication concerns me. You will create a user account from a computer on a campus IP range, and then you may use that login for 120 days from wherever on you iPhone.

The last session of the day, was Scholarship 2.0: Creating an online community. Terry Hulbert of AIP gave reasons why publishers should be involved. these included the number of people who are online every day, and more importantly who are
in these social technologies. Scientsts are actively using these tools, too.

Patricia Hudson of Oxford University Press (Journals) talked about their uses of social media, but spent more time on typical marketing speak. Their goal is to go not only where their customers are, but where it makes sense for them to go. There are concerns about the stability of these services – there is no SLA or contract, and who owns the content?  Social media policies, when are people speaking as themselves or for the
organization, having people speak who are knowledgeable about the product.  She actually showed how to set up advertising on Facebook – very interesting! Gives you a real time count of how many people those terms will reach. She compared Facebook advertising (for like this early music or some such journal) with Google adwords – lots more visits, etc., from Facebook, less per click, but more total cost because there were more clicks.  Could not choose appropriate terms for Bioinformatics
- no bioinformatics, computational biology, molecular biology, etc. (!). They could only use biology, genetics, and engineering – no clicks, nada. Facebook community promotions – offered a free trial to a group that already gets the journal by virtue of their membership in
the society (got takeups, yuck).

Jocelyn Dawson, Duke University Press; Blog, facebook, youtube, twitter. They think the “ideal” is Nature – but they believe they are doing pretty well for a mid sized university press. Journal centered blogs difficult to maintain energy – editorial offices are often too busy to maintain. Press blog has news but also guest posts by authors. They try to have
original content in their online places.  Seems like Twitter is most successful for them, though. They have 1500 followers and it’s very interactive.