Minutes of December 5, 2002 Meeting

Albin, Blair, Devanas, Gaunt, Grassle, Kaufman, Lehne, McGill, Novak, Smith, Wasserman
Dess, Montanaro, Sewell

Digital Projects

Ann Montanaro demonstrated the Luna Insight software that will allow the university to create multiple image databases from either still or moving images. The individual databases can be controlled separately for access and copyright concerns, such as limiting to class use or making available to anyone for non-commercial purposes. The software and server were purchased with ELF funds from Dr. Seneca so that the Libraries could manage centrally the development of image databases, but that faculty could create and use them locally. The Libraries have started a project with Art History to digitize some slide images; the Libraries have also contributed some map images they own. We will start demonstrating Luna to departments in the spring semester and work with faculty or groups who wish to use the software. The Libraries will undertake training for individuals in setting up the metadata (descriptive information about each image for retrieval purposes) and image quality standards. The presentation software is especially robust for manipulating the images for classroom use, and if there are no downloading restrictions due to copyright, faculty can import them into WebCT, E-College, or Blackboard instructional units.

Copyright issues and collaborative development of databases were also discussed based on comments from Doug Blair and Meredith McGill. In some cases the faculty member may have the copyright to the images and will need to decide what rights to use he/she may want to provide. The Libraries are collaborating with other groups on digitizing collections that would be of value in New Jersey (historical, literary, scientific) through a project developed by the State Library. We are also acquiring commercial image databases. Suggestions for digitizing public domain works from our Special Collections was noted.

The Luna project is emblematic of new roles for Libraries where they add value to the academic enterprise not just by acquiring and disseminating information but by assisting in its creation and dissemination.

Scholarly Communications Issues

Marlie Wasserman lead a discussion of the Modern Language report concerning the crisis in scholarly publishing and the impact on faculty and education and research. She noted that the problems have gone past the scholarly monograph that would be of interest to only a small group, to encompass the mid-list books that would be used in the classroom and be more broadly accessible. Students are no longer purchasing the texts required and/or purchasing them on resale. Book stores are returning books in quantities not seen previously. Presses get little mark-up from book store sales, where it is possible that one individual is making the purchasing decision for the stores. Electronic publishing is not the cost saving panacea that some thought. The press spends significant staff time in reviewing and acquiring manuscripts, editing and marketing, which would be required in the electronic environment, plus additional expenses.

One of the recommendations in the MLA report is for publishing subventions for faculty-especially junior faculty. It will help with immediate concerns, but it is unclear that it will resolve problems for the long term. The committee liked the concept and agreed to convey their support for this approach to Dr. Seneca.

Marianne Gaunt discussed the related issues associated with the cost of scholarly journals in the sciences, in particular, and the effect they have on monograph purchases. She reviewed the MLA recommendations related to the Libraries and noted that Rutgers supported all of them. None the less, inflationary costs for journals has had an impact on the number of monographs the Libraries purchased, and endowment and external funds were used to supplement state funds. She also noted that allocations to the disciplines is an art, not a science, and takes many factors into consideration: amount published in a discipline, average costs of journals and monographs, size and quality of university programs, existing collection strengths, and history. The development of new programs creates an extra challenge, as they are usually introduced without additional funds and some programs are not sufficiently diminished to make up the difference. McGill and Smith suggested that library liaisons meet at least annually with departments (or a designated group) to place the library issues in context, and discuss any mutual concerns.

Manfredi LaManna's powerpoint slides illustrate the advantage of faculty-based non-profit societies developing new journals that compete with commercially produced journals, but they need to rely on Libraries acquiring them and faculty publishing in them. Susan Albin noted that her discipline generally discounts journals only published electronically (not accompanied by a published print equivalent). Other disciplines, regard them equally if peer-reviewed. One of the recommendations of the Scholarly Communications Steering Committee report recommended surveying faculty to determine their discipline's use and evaluation of electronic publications, so that new publishing models could be developed based on disciplines rather than by taking a general across-the-board approach. The Library committee agreed that it would be useful to do. They also thought the recommendation to develop a new office (tentatively titled the Digital Publications Office), coordinated under the VP for Academic Affairs, University Libraries, Computing Center, and University Press, would be a great support mechanism for faculty as well as a resource for the development of new outlets for scholarship. The committee also noted that the faculty identity is with the disciplines, and that any university might only have one expert in a particular field, so that the scholarly societies are an important target audience for change.

Sewell noted the difficulties of negotiating the NERL (Northeast Research Libraries) consortium contract for Science Direct with Elsevier. The bundling of journals and the overall cost of the package ($1 million) were described as especially problematic for libraries.

Libraries response to the Vagelos report

Marianne Gaunt gave a brief report on how the Libraries responded to the recommendations in the Vagelos report. Because there are many collaborations with UMDNJ and NJIT that rely on library support, the potential for the merger to improve access to information is very positive, if implemented appropriately. On the other hand, the separation into three institutions was very problematic for enhancing library support. The digital environment requires effective infrastructures to deliver content and services; a fragmentation of that in any way compromises what is possible. The separate law libraries is an example of how it is difficult to build structures when the systems underlying information delivery are different, and because they are not compatible at a sufficiently high level. Because the rest of the library system is so interdependent, we need all three campus libraries to be in sync with each other or it degrades services for the other campuses. With the resources available, this is the only effective way to operate, and it is a more sophisticated model. The committee members were very supportive and concerned, as the libraries have an impact on their teaching and research, and asked how they could be of help.

URL: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/staff/groups/rul_adv_com/minutes/ruladv_02_12_05.shtml
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