Knowledge Base+ in a nutshell

Phase I of the Knowledge Base+ project aims to develop a centralised, shared, above-campus knowledge base of data useful to electronic resources management (ERM) at institutional level.

It aims to provide institutions, and the services they use, with timely, accurate, verified and structured ERM information, including e-resources publication, licensing, subscription and entitlements data.

In partnership with other existing services and initiatives, e.g. Journal Usage Statistics Portal and the License Comparison Tool, the knowledge base also aims to extend and enhance existing data and services rather than creating yet another silo.

The knowledge base is NOT an ERM product and therefore it is not trying to compete with ERM or LMS products in terms of functionality or tools – the focus is on quality metadata, and improving the availability of high quality metadata relevant to UK academic institutions to existing ERM and LMS products.

As far as possible, the knowledge base will be based on open principles using open standards (e.g. COUNTER and ONIX) in machine readable structured formats (e.g. KBART) that enable the data to be imported into existing systems, and shared between related systems, for multiple purposes and reuse. The knowledge base will be accessible to all participants through its own authenticated user interface.

The existence of the knowledge base will start to meet the aim of minimising the costly duplication of staff time and effort in the population, maintenance and correction of existing knowledge bases, include link resolvers, supplier knowledge bases, institutional ERMs, etc.

The project also aims to provide alerting services concerning renewals, title changes, known issues, service availability, etc.

Scope: A full set of key deliverables for Phase I is outlined on the official Knowledge Base+ website. Phase I is more about identifying, piloting and implementing the overarching framework and infrastructure based around a core set of NESLi2, SHEDL, WHEEL and JISC eCollections agreements, rather than providing a fully comprehensive service from day one.

Planning for Phase II will commence in spring of 2012.


What will KB+ contain?

In phase I the knowledge base will contain a representative sample of data about publication, licensing, subscription and entitlements for many existing e-resource deals e.g. nesli2, SHEDL and WHEEL title lists, holdings, machine readable licences, etc.

In selecting the data for phase I of the project we have tried hard to choose data that is of relevance to as many institutions as possible, but recognise that this is a far from comprehensive set of data and that we will want to include full-text databases, ebooks etc in phase II and beyond.

What the data in phase I will allow us to do is test the functionality – import, export, correction, deletion etc – that KB+ seeks to offer, but with data that of importance to as many institutions as possible.

A full list of deliverables in phase I is available.

What’s the benefit of KB+ for Library administrative staff?

  • The potential to reduce the burden of tedious and time-consuming process around managing e-resources.
  • Freed up time to spend on more worthwhile, ‘value added’ services.
  • Increased productivity through shared activity
  • Opportunities to upskill and develop
  • Opportunity to network with other institutions
  • Opportunity to make a difference at a national as well as local level.

See also What’s in it for libraries?

What’s the benefit of KB+ for Library Directors?

  • A reduction in the costly duplication of staff time and effort in the population, maintenance and correction of knowledge bases
  • A contribution to enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of local e-resource management
  • Fewer broken links and incorrect holdings, helping to ensure better value from existing subscribed e-resources.
  • Improved user experience from better access to subscribed e-resources
  • Improved return on investment (ROI) from existing knowledge bases and e-resource management systems (e.g. link resolvers, etc.) which should be enhanced by taking feeds from the centralised knowledge base.
  • The potential to reassign staff activity away from repetitive back-of-house administration.
  • It is recognised that phase 1 of the project is unlikely to deliver major savings before August 2012 – the benefits are likely to become more tangible in the medium to long term and will be articulated in the business case for phase 2 and beyond.

See also What’s in it for libraries?

What’s the benefit of KB+ for publishers, platform hosts, agents, suppliers and system vendors?

  • One authoritative source of key data about e-resources including publication, licensing and subscription information.
  • Timely access to data contextualised for the UK academic library market
  • Centralised service for the population, amendment and verification activity of data for knowledge bases, include link resolvers, supplier knowledgebases, institutional ERMs, etc.
  • Reduction in queries from multiple institutions or consortia.
  • Access to the knowledge base data to update their own databases and improve services to customeRs.
  • Reduction in the costs associated with collating, managing and amending data for knowledge bases in use by UK academic libraries
  • Access to key licence data in a structure machine to machine format

International links

The Project also has links with other international Knowledge base initiatives such as GoKB initiative in the United States looking to pull together global level publication information. Kristin Antelman from North Carolina State University is part of the Community Advisory Group (CAG) and she recently wrote: “Both KB+ and GOKb are about knowing what we (libraries) have so that we can get our resources to our users, and working together to accomplish that. This is far from an easy problem but it makes total sense to own this problem and to solve it.”

Sustainability: What will happen beyond August 2012?

Another output from Phase I of the project will be a business plan and model for further development of the knowledgebase service. It is expected that this will identify the costs and workflows associated with the maintenance and creation of both the data and software tools to manage it. Phase I will not involve costs to individual institutions as it is HEFCE funded.

The Project’s sustainability will depend on the extent of community ownership and the extent to which it succeeds in bringing related service together (hopefully more of a hub than yet another spoke!)

In the medium to long term there is the potential for the development of more radical services and initiatives using data provided from this knowledgebase system in conjunction with other national and local databases (see for e.g Library Data Impact Project) and other emerging shared services.

Academic libraries and institutions have an interest in and responsibility for more than just their e-journals and databases – e-books, open access titles and individual articles, open educational resources and open data all pose new questions for electronic resources management (ERM). The project will also seek to identify the workflows that will allow these to be incorporated into shared ERM from Phase II onwards.