2016 Charleston Conference, Report from Norman Buchwald

“Worth Going if You’re an Electronic Resources Librarian”

By Norman Buchwald

In November, 2016, as Chair of CCL-EAR, and with support from CCLCCC, I attended the renowned Charleston Conference with the deceptive subtitle, “Issues in Book and Serial Acquisition” (which for many years has really been about electronic resources and trends).  The Charleston Conference is famously known to be a venue where librarians and vendors sit side by side, present together, and is a professional conference for learning and insight not just for the librarians from various fields, but also for the vendors.  The reason why I attended the conference is I was strongly hoping during my first year as CCL-EAR chair to learn as much as I can further of vendors’ products, how libraries have used them, and current trends in electronic resources.  Overall, not only did I find this a very useful conference for this purpose, but I would strongly recommend any electronic resources librarian to strongly consider this conference over a more general one as this sharply focused venue provides tremendous opportunities to meet vendor representatives outside the usual standard exhibition hall, and attend a number of sessions truly relevant to the areas of electronic resources trends, acquisitions, and studies.  For a list of the sessions I attended (with links to their descriptions), please look at http://tinyurl.com/kxhpdjh   For all videos that were taped at the conference (finally up in late March, 2017), go to: http://www.charlestonlibraryconference.com/video/

Below is a quick list of highlights:

  1.  Tips for attending the conference
    1. Book your hotel early and to get the most of the conference, book within a mile and a half of the hotels and convention center.  While the conference did provide a shuttle service, you would have the flexibility to walk through relatively safe Old Town Charleston which is quite beautiful to walk through.
    2. While there’s complimentary breakfasts (bagels or breakfast burritos), the conference’s “lively lunch” events may be lively, but are really brown bags (in other words, bring your own food and drink to such events).
    3. Plan to book your flights so you arrive Tuesday night or early, Wednesday morning as the exhibit hall  only exists the Wednesday afternoon (so vendor representatives can attend or present at sessions during the regular conference).
    4. The two hotels and the convention center are close enough to each other that during the breaks between sessions there is adequate time to walk from one place to another, meaning you can plan to attend back to back sessions in most cases.
    5. There is a reception one night and a dine around another night.  For last year’s conference, electronic sign-up was not available, to be sure when you register to ask for the location and sign-up if you are interested in meeting colleagues for dine-around night.
    6. Yes, each morning the plenary sessions open with an organizer ringing a school bell.  Consider it a trademark of Charleston.  J
  2.  On the Orbis Cascade Alliance and E-Resources Reviews Presentations
    1. Charleston Adivsor will soon have more dynamic reviews available through the Choice Reviews platform.  And they are always looking for people to write reviews on new databases and similar electronic products.
    2. Orbis Cascade Alliance(consortium of academic libraries in the Pacific Northwest region) still has a shared E-books collection, although they have moved from the patron driven access from Proquest’s Ebrary to an enterprise driven access model with one publisher, John W. Wiley (where an institution would have one year of unlimited simultaneous access for one year, and then after that year purchase ebooks based on use, which would provide considerable  savings).  My own research of the Boston Library consortium’s share E-books program, likewise has also shown that consortium moving away from Ebrary and instead favoring a patron driven access model with JSTOR and Taylor-Francis.   It appears the days of shared ebook collections with the choice of acquiring from a grand number of publishers may be over.  Instead, favoring arrangements with academic publishers via a group (JSTOR) or through individual publishers (John W. Wiley, Taylor & Francis).
    3. The presentsers of Orbis Cascade Alliance admitted there really is not a weeding policy in place for their shared E-book collection.  I have thus recommended the past members of CCL-EAR that were involved in the deselection process to pursue a professional article on this important topic, as I suspect they and many other consortia that have or have had shared collections could learn a lot from what CCL-EAR has done.
  3.  On the Ebook studies
    1. It appears the Pew 2016 Ebooks study that claimed 92% of undergraduate students preferred print over electronic may be the exception than a rule that this overwhelming majority stands, as surveys presented at this conference demonstrated instances where students definitely preferred ebook format for certain homework and study purposes in both University of Tennessee’s  Library’s survey  and ProQuest’s Global Ebooks survey.
    2. I am still waiting to receive a copy of the global ebooks survey and results that ProQuest presented (in the meantime, please take a look at the pictures they allowed me to take of their session).
  4. Charleston conference has an annual presentation called The Long Arm of the Law on legal trends regarding electronic resources at libraries and academic institutions at large.  Most noteworthy are:
    1. Last summer the Department of Justice notified that UC Berkeley was in violation of the ADA in its MOOCs, leading to the question can MOOCs survive ADA compliancy.
    2. As of 2014, the U.S. court of Appeals in Atlanta have ruled in favor of Georgia State University for faculty members to have 10% of an ebook, or even a whole chapter in their online course behind the respective Learning Management System—they believed that was what constituted fair use given the non-profit nature of the educational institution.  Publishers are horrified and are appealing.
    3.  As of last September, a trial court in India rejected a contest from publishers against Delphi University where hard copy of course packets were being created.
  5. One session I was not able to attend due to a conflict but I think it is important we all take a look is the one titled Running Start: A Crowd-Sourced Database of Due Diligence to Invoke Section 108.”    With the VHS format being discontinued, there is a splendid opportunity under section 108 of 17. U.S. code for institutions to create 3 digitized copies of the old VHS tape that can stay in the Library.  The Due Diligence 108 project is creating a database to help libraries reduce duplication efforts.  From our point of view as California community college librarians, we would be interested in finding out if duplication efforts can include closed captioning, and that DVD’s in this database include indexing that clearly identifies closed captioned or subtitled titles.  Perhaps we can participate given our own work in closed captioning which may have included changes from VHS to DVD formats.