VCU Libraries Advisory Committee
February 15, 2013 2 - 3 pm
4th Floor Conference Room, James Branch Cabell Library
Corey Davis, Clint McCown, Lea Marshall, Victoria Menzies, Whitney Newcomb, Niyati Patel, Faye Prichard (chair), Robert Sexton, Carolyn White
Absent with notice
Meredith Baines, Jose Dula, Tehra James, Kathy Kreutzer, Jeanne Schlesinger
Peter Nguyen, Lisa Phipps
Staff: John Duke, Jeanne Hammer, Teresa Knott, John Ulmschneider, Pam Fraga (recording secretary)
Guests: John Glover (VCU Libraries), Kristina Keogh (VCU Libraries)
Ms. Pritchard introduced and welcomed Dr. Clint McCown as the new representative from the Department of English, substituting for Dr. Les Harrison who is away for the balance of the semester.
Review and approval of agenda
The agenda was approved as presented.
Review and approval of minutes from January 2013
Dr. Dula was present at the January meeting but not noted as such. With that exception, the minutes were approved.
New library building: update on exterior renderings and other developments - online presentation
Before beginning his report on the building, Mr. Ulmschneider reviewed slides showing the use of Cabell Library during the 2am – 7:30am period of around-the-clock service, originally initiated as a pilot service in April 2012. He noted that the data shows very strong use, which clearly indicates that the service should become permanent.
Mr. Ulmschneider reviewed the building plans as they currently stand, stepping through each floor as well as the exterior renderings. He noted that the plans are still preliminary and will change as they are refined. Concerns were raised as regarding how the VCU Libraries will regulate the use of the proposed “3-season” space on the 3rd floor of the new building: would use be monitored so that a handful of students couldn’t monopolize the space on a regular basis? Mr. Ulmschneider said that, in fact, there is no intention to monitor this. It will be ‘first come, first served’ and it is expected that any problems will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
Mr. Ulmschneider explained that the new building will be LEED Silver. The possibility of a higher rating is limited by the fact that the new building will attach to an existing, non-LEED rated structure, Cabell Library. In such cases, the existing building must be upgraded to LEED standards, and the budget does not provide for such upgrades to Cabell.
The possibility of state funding looks very good at this time and if all goes as hoped, ground breaking will be in March 2014.
New position description drafts - handouts
- Diriector, Scholarly Communications and Copyright
- Director, Research Data Management
- Head, Academic Outreach
Mr. Ulmschneider reviewed the positions descriptions for these new recruitments. He noted that the Scholarly Communications and Copyright position will focus on raising the visibility of alternative scholarly expression, including open-source publishing, and will become the university’s chief source of information regarding copyright. However, the position cannot not offer legal advice: only the university’s Office of General Counsel has that authority. While reactions to the name itself were mixed and mild, it was the sense of the room that though not exciting, it was brief and to the point.
In discussing the Research Data Management position, Mr. Ulmschneider showed a slide which demonstrated how the University of Virginia is addressing the evolving need for data management and curation. Teresa Knott described the role that the librarian in this position will play in the long-term management of research data, assisting investigators and investigator teams after their research projects that generate such data.
The Academic Outreach position will, among other things, help the VCU Libraries’ liaison librarians connect with and better integrate with other departments in the University.
Reports and Discussion
E-book initiatives at VCU - handouts
Mr. Duke noted that the first handout outlines two e-book packages that VIVA intends to fund beginning this year. One of the purchases will be a “demand-driven” product: it will offer a very large library of books to users, but only the books that are used more often than a certain threshold count will be purchased. In discussion, the question of whether the electronic version of a book is the same as the print version was of significant concern. There were examples of this not being the case. Mr. Duke said that it was certainly not the intention to ever purchase a “lesser” copy and that, in fact, some books will always be purchased in print, such as books on the arts, because the print quality is so critical.
Use of digital journals and other digital materials – handouts
Mr. Duke referred to the charts in the handout showing the number of articles downloaded from the Elsevier journal package. A significant increase in use dating from spring 2012 is evident. In trying to sort out exactly why use seems to be increasing, several ideas were suggested : the use of the new discovery tool Primo, now the default search technology offered by the VCU Libraries, might help faculty find items more easily; an increase in sponsor research proposals, which require more pre-proposal discovery of existing work; and the fact that many faculty now require discipline-specific research of their undergraduate students.
Mr. Duke noted that while both the Ebsco and Elsevier usage charts show an increase in use, it’s not a pattern playing out across all journals and data resources. This might well stem from a limited awareness by faculty of information assets provided by the VCU Libraries that are relevant to their work. The VCU Libraries does hope to rectify that in coming years by increasing its outreach and education efforts. He noted that while VCU Libraries does buy a few journals individually, most are purchased as part of packages because of the huge cost savings; additionally, some journals are simply not available individually.
Friends of the Libraries events (upcoming)
- Justice for All: Black History Month lecture, Feb. 5
- 28th Annual Brown-Lyons Lecture with Jack Spiro, April 4
Mr. Ulmschneider reported that the Black History Month event was very successful. The featured speakers were Peter Neufield, co-founder of The Innocence Project, and Marvin Anderson, a wrongfully-convicted person exonerated by the Project’s efforts after serving 16 years in prison. Over 400 attended this unique event.
Mr. Ulmschneider, in referencing the Brown-Lyons Lecture, encouraged people to attend and to come early. This is always a very popular event and there is usually standing room only by the end of the evening.
Demo: Digital Pragmata initiative – handout
Mr. Glover and Ms. Keogh told the Committee that VCU Libraries is working on creating a series of events to link together and facilitate communication between different factions who are becoming active in the digitization of research materials. The handout outlined the workshops and the proposed mailer to advertise these events. The 3-part series would cover all aspects of inter-departmental creation of materials and as liaisons librarians are the natural link between these groups. The events would be open to the entire student body and faculty, as well as the Richmond community. Ms. Prichard said that the College may have people interested in working on this and was encouraged that undergraduates would be welcome, as well as graduate students and faculty.
The meeting adjourned at 2:59 pm.