KB+ Version 7 – New User Interface

We are very excited to share the new KB+ user interface providing librarians with a clear environment where local data (subscription, usage, licence, finance and entitlement) can be stored, managed, exported and compared.

This new user interface accompanied by high quality data (curated by the KB+ team) increases the KB+ potential in making an impact on the HE community through contributing to the metadata supply chain

We would also like to thank all those involved in developing our new more intuitive interface including the valuable contribution from 50 HE librarians (current and non-users of KB+) whose feedback has been essential towards the collective success of this project.

A few highlights of the new user interface include;

Improved visual clarity introducing clear icons, colour based navigation and simplification of the terminology.

Displaying key licence properties alongside subscription information.

A goal oriented dashboard with an emphasis on KB+ expert tools, primary user tasks, and surfacing relevant content.

We are looking forward to hearing your feedback on the new interface. You can contact us either via the green support button in KB+ or emailing us at knowledgebaseplus@jisc.ac.uk.

UKSG17 Highlights

Photo of KB+ party

KB+ celebrates its 5 year anniversary

I was fortunate enough to attend the 2017 UKSG conference this year (recordings and slides from the conference are available online)

One of my highlights of the conference was the KB+ celebration we hosted on Monday evening. Thanks to all who attended, it was such a pleasure to be able to mark our 5 year anniversary with the community who have helped us build the service. We were treated to kind words from Liam Earney (Director of Jisc Collections) & Richard Parsons (Director, Library and Learning Centre, University of Dundee) on the impact KB+ has made to the e-resources landscape. We also had a sneak preview of the work on improving the KB+ user interface. In preparation for the celebration we also contacted the KB+ community to ask them to reflect on the service and we were able to share some of their thoughts too. (see our April Newsletter)

Another highlight was the breakout session on “KBART Recomendations: challenges & achievements”, which included presentations from Magaly and Chrissie as well as Julie Zhu from IEEE. From the early days KB+ has championed the need for standards to help with the management of e-resources and it was really interesting to hear about what progress has been made and what we can still do to help improve the situation. It was clear from the panel that while there needs some initial investment from all stakeholders in the e-resource chain the benefits, for example increased discoverability of content, continue to be worth it.

The final highlight of the conference was the people. From all the excellent speakers who generously shared their experiences and knowledge leaving me enthused, inspired and with a stack of further reading, to the serendipitous meeting of new people & exchanging new ideas and thoughts, to the opportunity of putting a face to a longstanding email relationship and finally the fun in spotting former and current colleagues on the dance floor. For me the heart of the UKSG conference is the community and I was grateful to be a part of it this year.

Usability Workshops

The KB+ team has started working on the improvement of KB+ user interface to enhance user experience and usability. On the first phase of this work, we are carrying out some user research to try to understand the needs of our audiences better. Part of this research will consist of two user workshops with existing and new users.

Location and dates

There will be two usability workshops.

  • Manchester on Wednesday 27 April 2016 from 11.00-15.00
  • London on Tuesday 5th April 2016 from 11.00-15.00

You are welcome to join either the workshop in Manchester or  London. Each workshop will run with only a small number of participants from 11.00am to 15.00pm.

Some goals of the study include;

  • To try and understand the needs of our audiences better
  • To identify the key tasks that are being performed with KB+
  • To identify how users would like to see KB+ improved in the future

What should you expect?

An interesting interactive day whereby you are given the opportunity to put forward your ideas for the improvement of the user experience of this increasingly used application. The session will involve discussions, be quite hands on, interactive and hopefully enjoyable !

Please can you can you confirm your attendance to either workshop, including your chosen venue as soon as possible as places are limited to anita.martin@jisc.ac.uk. Once attendance has been confirmed directions to the venue will be sent out to you.

KB+ eBooks Decision Support Development Workshop

I recently attended an ebooks workshop focusing on developing a tool as part of KB+ which would provide ebook decision support, providing useful information on ebook platforms to support purchasing decisions and helpdesk queries. This work follows on from the ebook jisc co-design project and provided an opportunity to comment and provide feedback on this potential support tool,

From the report, anecdotal evidence, surveys etc. it was clear that the selection, provision, delivery and management of ebooks for libraries comes with a number of challenges. The ebook report refers to them as ‘pain points’  examples include being bound by DRM, inability to print, download etc. It was also interesting to hear what new challenges were beginning to rise such as how data migrates in changes of platforms, improving navigation to content etc.

The focus of this workshop related to collating the appropriate data for evaluating the available platforms. University of Hull had created a useful spreadsheet noting different criteria across a number of ebooks platforms, for example what devices is the platform compatible with, does it work with speech recognition software etc. The Northern Collaboration have also done work along the same lines, building on all this work and in discussion with other institutions the team were able to put together a prototype of a potential tool using the foundation of KB+/GOKb. This tool allowed you to either filter by category to see a list of platform that match your requirement or alternatively identify a package/platform and then view its criteria.

During the workshop there was a lot of discussion on what type of data would be useful to collect and who should be responsible for collating the data.

It was encouraging to see that the core foundations KB+ was built on, such as collaboration, sharing information and de-duplicating efforts, continues to be used in this new ebook development. There was also some positive feedback during the workshop on KB+’s approach with regards to being able to gather together common issues and talk to the publishers/vendors on behalf of the community.

I left the workshop with a better understanding of how collating and sharing this information on a national scale not only helps institutions in saving time and resource but also in terms of analysing the data and identify what improvements are needed in this landscape.

KB+ Workshop: Financials Development

​We are running a workshop to gather feedback on a new development for KB+ R5 which is intended to manage estimated and actual subscription costs at a variety of levels.

This requirements review workshop will take place on Wednesday 6th May at the Jisc offices in London, Brettenham House, 5 Lancaster Place, London, WC2E 7EN (10.30-15.30). To book a place please email us at knowledgebaseplus@jisc.ac.uk

Background

From the start , libraries have flagged the potential for KB+ to include an appropriate level of financial data relating to subscriptions. Having established the baseline operational service and significant integration with JUSP, in 2014 Jisc Collections worked with the user community to revisit the potential for delivering the ‘magic triangle’ of subscribed entitlement, usage and cost data in one place.

The Workshop

This workshop will provide opportunity for user input to the initial Release 5 development, which is intended to manage estimated and actual subscription costs at a variety of levels.

In order to help libraries in identifying likely workflows, related issues and further requirements, the development team will have a prototype cost management interface to demonstrate using real library data.

The sessions will cover

  • Scope of the KB+ Financials project
  • Prototype demonstration
  • Do we have the right data items, categories and filters?
  • When and how will libraries use this application?
  • Integration with existing KB+ forms
  • What review forms, reports and exports will be valued?
  • Potential and priorities for integration with Jisc Collections and local systems
  • Next steps

To book a place please send an email to knowledgebaseplus@jisc.ac.uk

 

KB+ One Day Workshops

New for this year are our KB+ One Day Workshops. We ran 2 last month in London; full details on upcoming workshops & booking form are available on our events page.

During the day we provide demonstrations of key features of KB+ followed by a set of exercises with copies of relevant user guides. Examples of the type of exercise include setting up a subscription, exporting a licence etc. We are keen to ensure participants have valuable practical hands on experience of the system to help gain a better understanding of KB+ and its potential. The exercises also provide the perfect opportunity for the data mangers to chat to participants, answer questions and see how KB+ is being used.

In the morning we focus on the role KB+ plays in recording, managing and tracking licences and in the afternoon we look at creating subscriptions, the renewal process and compare packages tool. Each workshop begins with introductions allowing the participants to say what they want from the day to ensure we cover the relevant information.

We also have guest speakers at the workshops. At the first workshop we had a talk from Robbie Ireland about the SafeNet project, “SafeNet is a shared post-cancellation access (PCA) service for UK academic libraries that builds a UK archive collection and clarifies entitlement rights”. It was encouraging to hear they plan to use KB+ as one of the authoritative data sets.

At the second workshop Ben Taplin, Licensing Specialist from Jisc, gave an introduction to ONIX-PL licences. I was interested to see how in picking out the key terms from the dense licence text helped improve the clarity of the key properties within the licence and how it also provided the opportunity to compare licences. It was a useful introduction to demonstrating the licence comparison tool in KB+.

I have really enjoyed the workshops, its been great to meet people, chat about e-resources and share experiences. Initial feedback from those who attended has been also been positive. Hopefully having the time away from work, the opportunity to focus on KB+, meet other institutions using KB+ and support from the data managers on hand provides the right environment to explore the benefits KB+ can provide in managing e-resources.

So if  you use KB+, are new to it or just interested to find out more then why not sign up to one of our workshops or webinars on our events page.

 

KB+ Workshops – Scoping adding Financial Data to KB+

Back in March we held a number of focus groups helping us understand your priorities and explore potential new developments to KB+.

These ideas are now being progressed as time and budget allows in a number of ways – notably in the work planned for Release 4.2 in the Autumn, which includes some substantial work on local licences, further JUSP integration and areas you prioritised in the Ideascale poll.

Of the unexplored ‘futures’, the major challenge was how KB+ might usefully integrate and add value to financial information about e-subscriptions. 

Our starting point is specialist workshops to capture real detail about what level of financial data would benefit KB+ and how that would fit with your institutional workflows and existing data sources (ranging from spreadsheets to financial systems). We hope to see library teams that are able to provide real working evidence (perhaps even sharing your spreadsheets) and to help define practices that will make a real difference.

The KB+ workshops will be in:

  • Edinburgh (Wednesday,  27th August)
  • London ( Wednesday, 10th September)

If you are interested, please contact the KB Plus team (kbplus@jisc-collections.ac.uk) to book on to your preferred event or to discuss further.

Based on that initial work, the team will then consult with libraries to develop the strands arising, with a view to proposing an approach by the end of the year, with the possibility of development taking place in 2015.

JUSP and KB+ Interoperability

There is information in the latest JUSP newsletter on how JUSP and KB+ are working together with further exploration of rationalising the ‘core’ title functionality offered by both services and the addition of more 2014 title list in JUSP.

The newsletter also covers the recent workshop, new training resources and usage profiling reports.

 

 

KB+ 4.1

With a new release comes a number of fixes and new functionality, including some of those identified in our focus groups early this year.

Some of the main changes for 4.1 include;

Renaming ‘Manage’ menu to ‘Institutions’Sceen shot Institutions menu

In renaming this menu we hope this helps navigating KB+ and locating necessary information easily. From this menu you can search across KB+ as well as go directly to your subscriptions, license etc.

Multi-Year Package and Master list

There will be one title list (package) for the duration of multi-year deals this will be updated as titles join or leave the package (eg title transfers between publishers). For these packages you will no longer need to follow the renewal process of uploading a new list each year which we hope will save time and help reduce confusion.

We will be updating the title list as information becomes available; addition of new titles, adding ends dates and coverage notes for title changes, cessations and transfers. In 4.1 you now have an enhanced view of these title list allowing you to see titles have been removed from a package and which are expected to join a package. As previously we recommend subscribing to the announcements and dealing with ‘To Dos’ as they arise in order to track all changes.

KB+ screenshot

ONIX-PL Licence Comparison
Under the ‘Institutions’ menu you have the option for ONIX-PL Licence Comparison, you can pick a primary licence as the basis of the comparison, then compare one or more other licences. The comparison compares all parts of the ONIX-PL licence and includes the ability to display the relevant licence text and annotations.
KB+ screenshot

We will be updating our help documentation and adding new user guides shortly.

UKSG 2014

The UKSG annual conference was a busy but informative couple of days, packed with interesting talks, chance to meet people as well as sample a few beers at the conference dinner. Videos & slides and blog posts about the sessions are available on the UKSG site.

There were numerous themes running across the talks however the two which stood out for me and were also key to my presentation were Openess and Collaboration. A core founding principle of KB+ is ensuring the title lists are openly available while collaboration is key to how we continue to develop the service.

This post covers the panel session, KB+ putting theory into practice

I am very grateful to Sonia Wilson from University of Stirling and Phil Hall from Proquest Workflow Solutions who joined me on the panel session. The aim of our session was to show how KB+ is used from different perspectives.

I began the session by introducing KB+ and putting it into context with regards to why the service was created and what it looks like to date. One of my key roles in working with KB+ is with regards to adding data to the knowledgebase, data which we then make openly available to benefit the whole community. Most of what we have achieved is through collaboration and by working together I hope we can create a trusted knowledge base to be used as an authoritative source which in turn will benefit everyone involved, librarians, vendors and publishers.

Sonia talked about how University of Stirling became involved with KB+ and their expectations of the service in terms of how it could help the library. Stirling have been involved with KB+ from the beginning and noted how much the system has changed in answer to demands from the community although there are still areas they would like to see further developed. I was pleased to hear Sonia echo the need for more collaboration and contribution from the community in order for KB+ to provide even more value.

 

Ending our panel was Phil who was able to talk about how Proquest Workflow Solutions are making use of the data we provide from KB+ and integrating it within their knowledgebase allowing customers to benefit from the title list without an increase to their workload. It was encouraging to see the KB+ title list being used and hopefully the right step towards reducing multiple versions of title list which currently create confusion and more work.

Focus Groups in March

Focus GroupsWe ran 3 focusgroups in March looking specifically at some of the common pages used in KB+ as well asking for general feedback and ideas.

I was pleased to attend the London meeting not only as an opportunity to feedback on the system from a datamanager point of view but also to meet those using or thinking about using KB+.

At the focus group we were presented with multiple screenshots of the system to comment on which helped focus the discussion. The paperwork (all 477 sheets) from the 3 focus groups has now been collated and entered on a spreadsheet with 998 comments from 45 attendees.

These comments will now be de-duplicated and split into two groups

  1. Quick necessary fixes – to be added to the development pipeline straight away
  2. A list of enhancements and improvements which we will be asking the community to vote on.

We wanted to thank everyone who attended for their time and valuable feedback. All your comments and ideas are a great help in planning how we develop KB+.

 

KB+ Focus Groups

As KB+ is taken on by more institutions, many of whom were not part of early discussions about preferred workflows and interface layout, it’s very important that we work with libraries to take on feedback and ideas – and also that we have the resources to act on those inputs.

This year’s budget makes provision for this in Releases 4.1 (after Easter) and 4.2 (in the summer).

To be sure we understand your priorities, we will be holding focus groups in three locations in early March as follows. We will cover the following topics at all 3 focus groups

  • Management of Issue Entitlements, including package change, renewals, ‘To do’ alerts and JUSP integration
  • Licensing & Subscriptions processes
  • Potential for inclusion of financial information
  • Wednesday, 5thMarch – Central London – Jisc Offices, Meeting Room 2, Brettenham House North, 5 Lancaster Place, London WC2E 7EN.
  • Thursday 6th March – Central Manchester –Mimas, the University of Manchester, 5th Floor Roscoe Building, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL.
  • Thursday 13th March – Central belt, Scotland – Causewayside Building, National Library of Scotland.

In order to save your time at the events, we will already have scheduled improvements to address a number of cosmetic and operational ‘irritations’ that users and data managers have reported.

Whilst these meetings are geared to taking feedback and ideas from users with experience of the KB+ system, any academic library is welcome to send one or two delegates.

The meetings will take place from 11am to 3.30pm to allow for travel and will be attended by members of the development and data management teams plus colleagues from JUSP.

In order to finalise dates at appropriate venues, please email kbplus@jisc-collections.ac.uk with your interest in attending or sending colleagues, indicating your preferred meeting(s). On that basis, we’ll finalise dates by 1st February so you can make firm bookings.

KB+ Collaboration

I am pleased to report that both Ex Libris and Serials Solutions are now using data from KB+.

  • Ex Libris provide a clear statement on their SFX targets to indicate they have got their data from KB+
  • Serials Solutions provide a list of those databases where they use KB+ data via their Support Centre

A key principle of KB+ is to do the work once and share, so I was really pleased to see that both Ex Libris and Serials Solution are using KB+ data. Having a single data source will help save time and resource across institutions.

I read an interesting article(1) today by Ed Chamberlain in Insights, covering union catalogues, open data and data aggregation. In the article he noted that KB+ was “aiming to create a national-level store of licence and holdings data that is owned and managed by a community. System vendors can also take and contribute data from and to the store. This allows libraries as customers to migrate from one electronic resource management system (ERM) to another with confidence that data will be uniform in quality across the marketplace.”  Its encouraging to see steps towards reaching this aim.

(1)Chamberlain, E. (2013) “Where do we go with Union Catalogues?” Insights. 26 (2) pp.180-184

Building a better Knowledge Base

I have been in my new role as data manager for a few months and one of my main tasks is adding new collections of titles into KB+. Our first priority has been Nesli2 collections. In some cases publishers kindly supply KBART files of their collection, others direct us to a title list on their website or we garner the information directly from their web pages . Once we receive the files we need to reformat them in order to upload into KB+.

Before uploading we often attempt to check the data quality. This can include comparing against a title list acquired from a different source, comparing against last years list (using the comparison basket feature in KB+), checking for known title cessations or transfers. We are currently using tools such as SunCat to help with the data verification but are looking to other services and collaboration with international services to ensure consistency and accuracy. Depending on the outcome of these checks we are then faced with how best to resolve any found issues, such as title misspellings, incorrectly assigned DOIs, incorrect ISSNs before this data is loaded into KB+.

I have been mainly using Excel to manage and manipulate the data prior to loading into KB+ and therefore tools such as the ‘conditional formatting’ to find duplicate ISSNs have proven to be useful. I am planning investigating tools such as Google Refine to help manage this data more effectively, especially with regards to breaking down large title lists into appropriate collections and automate some standard formatting.

I am also looking forward to release 3.1 of KB+ which is looking to provide more integrated communication channels.

In working collaboratively and sharing data errors I think we can help build a good quality source of data.