Meeting 2

Meeting 2 took place in January 2009 in London.

The focus of this meeting was to gather information from a number of different library, museum and archive users and then use this information to begin to refine priorities for a vision.

To help with this process. We asked all attendees to complete a questionnaire about what was good about resource discovery in libraries, what was not good, what needs to change for users and what needs to change from a data perspective:

The answers to these questions were summarised as wordles to help discussion:

The notes from this meeting are included below:

Review of previous meeting

Members reviewed the outcomes of the previous meeting and were reminded of the context of the group, namely how the current service provision could be joined up and/or refreshed whilst remaining flexible. The previous meeting also indicated that the bigger picture should be considered but ensure that the provision remains manageable and achievable.

Members were advised the outputs that would like to be achieved were:

  • Define a vision for a five year period;
  • Quality control the vision and see if the current provision is compatible;
  • Provide advice to the new JISC Infrastructure and Resource Committee (JIR).

It was noted that as services were already in existence, rather than starting with a clean sheet, it would be necessary to work in parallel.

JISC Services

Norman Wiseman provided members with an overview of the current JISC service provision. It was advised that in the past JISC services were run due to opportunity and chance rather than as a result of long term principals aligned to the strategy. As a result the five year vision was required to find out what services are in existence, and how they could be migrated to the refreshed provision. It was noted that whatever the outcome it would be essential that it should be compelling to the community.

It was advised that the JISC would undertake another Services Portfolio Review in 2009 and the Taskforce would inform this process. It was also noted that the funding balance between research and development and services would become a major issue and JISC would need to carefully consider which services should be provided and whether they should all be provided by JISC. Cost savings would become a major factor in the coming months and it would be necessary for not just the technical infrastructure to be considered but also business models.

JISC Monitoring Usage Statistics for Copac, Suncat, Zetoc and Archives Hub

Ian Cooper from the JISC Monitoring Unit attended the meeting and provided members with an overview of usage statistics for a number of JISC services. It was advised that one of the problems with open access to these services was accounting for use and it was noted that the Monitoring Unit is unable to tell how services are used.

Introduction by David Baker and Rachel Bruce

It was advised that a shared infrastructure would be required at a national level but there was a question about where the point of contact was at a local level. It was further noted that the provision does not have to always be user led as technical solutions can often change behaviour.

End users experiences with resource discovery

Sol Picciotto from Lancaster University Law School provided members with an overview of resource discovery from a teaching perspective. Important issues were noted as: building on existing patterns; ensuring the user understands where information comes from; ensuring that students are pursued to evaluate their resources even when resources are procured through commercial interfaces such as Google.

Michael Jubb from RIN provided members with an overview of resource discovery from a research perspective. Difficulties were highlighted as: researchers use different discovery services for different things; large number of specialist discovery services; understanding differences of institutional behaviour; comprehensiveness of findings.

Robin Hunt, PhD student at UCL provided members with an overview of his experiences of resource discovery as an end user. It was suggested that the internet as a whole should be considered as resource discovery as bad knowledge was ignored and good knowledge used and that resources should be searched not by discipline but by idea. However, it was noted that there was a risk of unwarranted assumptions of information provided in this context and structure was a requirement of academia.

David Pearson from RLUK provided members with an overview of resource discovery from a librarian perspective. The complexities and frustrations were noted as: difficulties in locating material that is known to exist; searches across multiple database; unreliable data; the complexity of the landscape; gaps between user expectation and what can be delivered; the divide between where information ‘lives’ and where web traffic is. It was noted that librarians wanted simplicity, a joined up approach and comprehensiveness.

Future priorities

Members thought that a discussion needed to be held with OCLC to find out what model they may be developing and what key themes this model might be based on.

To assist in defining a vision and requirements for a 5 year period it was considered important that the Taskforce be made aware of relevant services, infrastructures and technologies used in other countries and in the commercial sector for resource discovery and it was agreed a gathering information exercise should be commissioned. This information gathering exercise would be overseen by a small steering group and volunteers for the steering group were asked to contact Andy McGregor.

A number of scenarios were also requested to inform discussions e.g. models of sharing data and services, or providing rich user experiences, what different providers might be able to offer, what the EDINA and MIMAS views are into the future based on their development plans etc.