Trust, Transparency and Cultural Change

This week saw the second GOKb Steering Committee meeting with colleagues from KUALI and JISC, as well as the latest KB+ Community Advisory Group meeting.

Whilst both projects are putting in place the technical infrastructure to support shared community approaches to data management, much of the discussion at both meetings was given over to the necessary conditions required for a hard pressed librarian to make the cultural change from working with well known and understood local practices, to adopting new shared services.

How does one initiate such change and more importantly sustain and embed it in the daily grind of getting the job done?

From the discussions it is clear that to be successful KB+ and GOKb will need to earn the Trust of their respective communities:

  • Trust that the accuracy of the data is at least as good as what you have now, if not better.
  • Trust in the capability of new partners to do as good a job as you maintaining data.
  • Trust that the services themselves will be available in the longer term, that their development plans respond to community needs and are worth investing time and effort in.

It is a shared belief of us all that transparency is the best way to achieve that level of trust:

  • putting in place a governance structure and  a group of test institutions that ask searching questions and have very high standards
  • providing information on who is or has been working on title lists – has it only been checked by institutions, or JISC Collections, or the publisher? Or has it been checked by all of them? We also had some interesting discussions about ‘buddying’ subject matter experts from the UK and US as a way of building trust through collaborative work.
  • provide information on the level of certainty we have in the accuracy of the information – flagging concerns and working collectively to build more accurate data sets
  • transparency about the limitations of KB+ at launch – what is in the service, what isn’t and what level of effort an institution may need to put in.

The implication of all of this is that we won’t always be able to tell people what they want to hear, but then again maybe that isn’t such a bad thing. After all the whole basis for KB+ is that the library community is deeply unsatisfied with the current system and decided that the best way to achieve both the quality of data and efficiency savings required by the community as a whole is to change the culture of e-resource management from a local level activity and pursue a shared community driven approach.

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