KB+ Impact

  • Improving the reliability of e-library data, thereby improved end user experience and trust
  • Reducing time and cost spent managing data that underpins ERM, especially renewals
  • Adding value and accuracy to vendor knowledge bases that drive library systems and link resolvers (ROI)
  • Improve licensing and negotiation in UK, especially through more reliable historical data and entitlements
  • “Do once and share” principle working at many levels
  • Potential for enhanced communication between librarians and institutions
  • Successful shared service

KB+ What’s next?

1. Renewals functionality being implemented
– Enables comparison between deals and years
e.g. between a publisher’s Complete List and a new package
– Differences shown in reports
– Local changes can be made and then the data uploaded from the edited spreadsheet
2. Historical data and post-cancellation rights
– Collect and normalise historical data relating to journal agreements
– Title lists and licences from e and paper formats
– Normalise data and load into KB+
3. Multi-year representation
– Navigation / filtering of multi-year data in user interface, reports and exports
4. Data Management and Workflows
– Maintain and update all current data for 2013 including updates to Licence and Subscription information
– Support for management, tracking and cascading of generic KB+ changes to your local KB
5. Add in new agreements, especially non-JISC agreements
– E-journal agreements
– Full text databases
– E-book agreements
– Open access
– Consortium relationships
– Functionality to enable consortia to use KB+ efficiently, drawing on the SHEDL exemplar
6. Communication and building the Community
– Improvement of Notes and Alerts to support communication and annotation across the KB+ community
Community Advisory Group will be consulting on how to make KB+ the first port of call for library staff and communication across the community
7. Integration
– Journal Usage Statistics Portal (JUSP) and Electronic Licence Comparison and Analysis Tool (Elcat)
– Other third party services via imports and exports of data, e.g. see JISC HIKE Project at Huddersfield

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.

Random thoughts on future impact of KB +

Knowledge Base+ focuses on the data that underpins e-resource management. Workshops throughout the HE Library community highlighted this as an area that ALL libraries struggle with and that is very time-consuming. That’s one impact.

There is a great deal of confusion and miscommunication between publishers, librarians and subscription agents. But most importantly the people affected by this are the users of our services students and academics. That’s the second impact of KB+ – making the online library more reliable – thereby better supporting the core education and research needs of our institutions.

The benefits of focusing on the data is that the Knowledge Base+ service will ‘add value’ to a whole range of other local databases, ERMs, link resolvers and knowlegebases: that’s the third impact. It has the potential to act as the single point of truth for this core data, enabling it to be reused in a multitude of ways. This means that Knowledge Base + can rightly claim to be vendor neutral.

Vendor neutrality is also very important in terms of getting buy-in from all those involved in the supply chain, especially third party providers who may have their own Knowledge Base. Because Knowledge Base + is built on open standards, other providers can potentially feed data in, and pull data from, this centralised Knowledge Base, cutting down the existing discrepancies between services. So Knowledge Base + does not compete, but instead seeks to enhance, existing related services as well – that’s the fifth impact.

The sixth impact is cultural – the poor state of data management is being exposed by the project with all of us involved in the ERM supply chain being challenged to get our act together and not accept poor quality data. This cultural change should help drive up standards, and enhance the user experience, beyond the confined of this project.

I’m looking forward to seeing how libraries choose to make use of the data provided and we’re expecting exemplars to emerge as we enter the beta phase.

Knowledge Base+ at Day One

We’ve reached the point in the development of KB+ where we are pretty confident about what we’ll deliver on day one 1st September 2012.

I’ve divided it all up into the data that will be there, the services that will be provided and what libraries and suppliers can do.

We’d really welcome comments…

What data will be there?

Functionality in Place

Activity Undertaken by JISC Collections

Opportunity for Users to Add Data

Title, package, platform and coverage for the current NESLi2, SHEDL, WHEEL and JISC eCollections agreements – in excess of 12,000 titles

Wherever possible institutional entitlements to the above (based on JISC Collections data and local institutional data)

Licence information covering key values such as authorised user, remote access, ILL, use in course packs, post-cancellation access

Non-JISC Collections agreements. Currently we have IEEE publication information, we hope that institutions will add more data on agreements during the testing phase


What services will be available?

Functionality in Place

Activity Undertaken by JISC Collections

Opportunity for Users to Add Data

Additions and changes will be made centrally by JISC Collections in the initial phase, based on information sourced from the community

Monthly usage statistics will be automatically visible as they are collected by JUSP

New licence information will be added as agreements are made available in elcat


What can a library team do?

Functionality in Place

Activity Undertaken by JISC Collections

Opportunity for Users to Add Data

Add records of institutional licences and entitlements through data entry and/or upload


Access and compare key licence terms and related notes


Enter and access current alerts, notes and documents, such as the status of negotiations, issues and guidance with licences, service availability. Including display of current alerts.


Share intelligence (issues, queries, knowledge and responses) across the community


Set privacy levels for your data and documents


Produce reports such as A-Z lists, licence information, renewal dates etc


What can suppliers do?

Functionality in Place

Activity Undertaken by JISC Collections

Opportunity for Users to Add Data

Provide feeds of new records and updates by arrangement with JISC Collections  

Receive feeds of accurate contextualised deal information on publications and associated licences for the agreements covered by KB+ for use in their own knowledge bases  


Understanding historical entitlements to journals (or not)

Along side the work that we’ve been doing for KB+ to make sure that we have accurate data on the titles included in 2012 NESLi2 agreements, JISC Collections has been working with EDINA on a scoping study for an Entitlement Registry and PECAN2. These projects are almost at an end with final reports due in mid-April – and we are currently running workshops with institutions to review what has been done and what institutional priorities might be.

This work is very closely aligned with KB+, providing a historical record of title coverage, institutional subscriptions and post-cancellation access rights for NESLi2 agreements.

Unfortunately, as so often seems to be the case, this is easier said than done.

As one librarian said, at any one time there seem to be atleast 3 different records of what titles an institution subscribes to: the institution, the publisher and the subscription agent. Trying to reach agreement on this is enormously time consuming, but it also appears to be work that has to be repeated year in, year out at enormous cost and effort on all sides.

Now, some may say that this isn’t important and no one is claiming that there are huge issues with access to subscribed content, but I think there are some important reasons why as a community we should have a solid understanding of what we do and don’t have rights to:

  1. Institutional knowledge – at the moment many institutions have to ask third parties for information on what that institution has and hasn’t subscribed to, yet they seldom have huge faith in the answers that they receive from those external partners.
  2. Best practice – at a very simple level it makes sense to understand what has been purchased and what rights one has to that content. From a licensing perspective, it should be up to institutions, publishers and those who act on their behalf such as JISC Collections, to make sure that the licences are clear on this.
  3. Understanding an offer – being able to understand the impact of an offer and any decisions you may wish to make about cancellations, renewals, substitutions etc requires a knowledge of what the impact on access will be.
  4. Transition to electronic and relegation of print – uncertainty about post-cancellation access rights is a barrier to institutions when considering getting rid of their print collections or fully moving to electronic.
  5. Decision making – time repeatedly spent working out what has been purchased and what rights apply to it, is time that isn’t spent on more important decisions about collection development, improving the user experience or considering the nature of the library service that will be delivered.
  6. Improved services – being able to make accurate records of this information available could provide an opportunity for subscription agents, systems vendors, publishers and negotiating bodies to improve the services that they can provide to institutions.

However, we are where we are and the amount of work involved in putting this right is considerable, but based on the work undertaken so far and the valuable feedback from institutions we are starting to understand some priorities and some practical ways of achieving these that could be beneficial to all.