On the 8th February 2011 a use case meeting was held at the University of East Anglia (UEA). The documentation is available as a pdf, and Nicholas Lewis, Director of Library Services at UEA wrote a short summary of the meeting from his point of view.
At UEA on 8th February we initially worked on a new use case: “12-Journal title moves between publishers”. We identified the potential benefits of a centralised Knowledgebase to assist with this kind of change which might include details of the old publisher platform, the new publisher platform, where the archive might be held, whether access would be retained to the archive, the timescales for the change, etc. However, as we reflected on our current workflow in such circumstances, we also agreed that there were some key questions that needed to be asked in this process whenever it arose, no matter what the individual title. These ‘questions in common’ might be worth including in a shared environment? But we also recognised there would still be a need for some local information to be stored, for example, depending on local practices around cataloguing, etc. In aspects of this workflow where there is greater divergence between institutions, there is probably little benefit in insisting on shared service. That said, we were rightly challenged by David and Owen to think about the extent which we might be prepared to change local practices, such as e-journal cataloguing, in order to benefit from above ‘above campus’ services. As we concluded our discussions on this use case, we agreed that there were similarities between this and our pilot use case: “13-Publisher changes platform”, and so it was agreed that our final written up use case would combine both.
We also spent some time discussing scenario 16: usage data, and had a very engaging discussion about how usage data and cost data (and therefore cost per download) were often just a starting point in a wider process of evaluating the value of individual journals. At UEA we are embarking on a pre-emptive exercise to review journals which have a high cost per download (above the cost of an interlending request) to see what additional qualitative evidence there may be to justify retention, rather than solely relying on usage statistics. However, usage statistics do have their value in identifying the most highly used titles and those which would therefore not require any additional qualitative evidence. In terms of a potential shared service, we do see the value of a portal which would enable us to harvest (hopefully automatically via SUSHI protocol) some of the key usage statistics and, as time went on, this would enable us to do more sophisticated modelling around cost per download (over a number of years, not just over the most recent year, for example) and also potentially to benchmark with other institutions (if they agreed). The need for some local fields in any such shared statistics portal, or at least the ability to export easily and manipulate the data in a suitable third party package, would be important.
Finally David and I discussed some areas of shared interest in terms of prototype services being developed at JISC Collections, see http://www.jisc-collections.ac.uk/Our-projects/
All in all, a very lively, engaging and enlightening day. We benefitted hugely from the experience David and Owen have been building up over the last few weeks. We trust the forthcoming events will be a great success and congratulations to the Board on gaining the funding announced by HEFCE yesterday!