Our special edition newsletter celebrating 5 years of KB+ with comments from the community and a time line of how the service has developed over the years.
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.
Posted on behalf of Emma Shaw (KB+ Data Manager)
I started working at Jisc as a Data Manager back in February 2016. My background is in academic libraries (my previous role was Journals and E-resources Librarian) and so my approach to data management is very much from the librarian’s point of view. I understand both Higher Education and the journals’ publishing landscape, and appreciate the frustrations that can come with working in those fields. Having access to reliable and accurate data about your library’s holdings is the Holy Grail for most librarians. Yet the lack of compliance to data standards and recommendations within publishing makes this almost impossible to achieve. The quality and types of information provided by publishers differ greatly. Some publishers seem to take a somewhat cavalier attitude to their own data (such as the flagrant use of titles and ISSNs with no regard to their bibliographic history). This is the world of journals publishing! The reality is that content providers’ information is often unreliable.
For the last six months, in addition to my work on KB+, I have participated in a joint project with the Jisc Journal Archives (JJA). The aim of this project was to check the JJA holdings to identify any gaps alongside enriching the metadata.
When the JJA material was originally purchased by Jisc from 2004, the data was supplied in the form of a black box (literally!); it contained millions of individual articles (as PDFs) and their corresponding metadata. The quality of the data was somewhat patchy, for example, there were articles with no metadata as well as metadata with no articles. The JJA team did a fantastic job of managing to ingest this content, and so produce the platform we now know as the JJA. We were aware that some omissions in the content remain, however, and also that some of the metadata could be improved. These are the issues I set out to resolve.
Assessing licence information: My journey began with locating the original licence agreements in order to confirm what licensed material is included (and consequently what the JJA should have). Usually the licence is in the form of a Word document or a PDF, so my first task was to extract this data and put it into Excel. The quality of this information varies enormously between publishers and agreements. Title level information can be sparse, often with inaccurate or non-corresponding date ranges; volume or issue information may be missing, and no related titles or bibliographic histories may be supplied. For example, both Oxford University Press and the Institute of Civil Engineers provided only a basic list of titles (lacking ISSNS) with a coverage date range for the entire collection (rather than by title). Other publishers, such as Brill, Cambridge University Press (CUP) and Taylor and Francis, provided coverage information down to the issue level, which obviously made my job a lot easier. The Institute of Physics (IPO) was the only publisher to attempt to include a full bibliographic history (and the corresponding coverage) for each archive title.
Checking, verifying and enriching the data: Next I looked at any discrepancies around the journal title; these were checked against the publisher’s information and the ISSN Portal. Title publication and coverage dates were checked and verified, start and end volume and issue numbers were checked and added to if necessary, and any preceding/ succeeding titles (within the licensed coverage date range) were added as separate titles, each as a new data line. The bibliographic histories for titles in archive collections are often by nature extensive. For example, in the IOP collection Measurement Science and Technology (0957-0233) has had six title changes since its first publication in 1923!
Creating coverage notes: Then I added the bibliographic history for each title and any other useful details, for example information to cover gaps in publisher content.
I then had a checked and verified title list for the Licence agreement.
Checking and updating KB+ file: Fortunately, we already have KB+ title lists for these Jisc agreements – so my next task was to double check the KB+ file against the verified licence information and update the titles lists as necessary. Publishers have the annoying habit of selling on their content, so any titles which had transferred out since the original agreement needed to be updated. Then, using the checked and verified title list for each agreement, I made the necessary updates to the KB+ file, for example noting publisher transfer outs, to ensure it matched the licences and the JJA.
The Data Managers will continue to monitor this information and include the archive agreements in their workflows to ensure titles continue to stay up to date.
Confirming JJA data: The final phase was to check the verified and updated KB+ title list against the JJA holdings data. This check needs to be done at issue level (rather than title level) to ensure all issues are included for each title within the licensed coverage range.
This five-stage process enabled me to identify any gaps in the archive holdings. Armed with this information we are now in a position to be able to fill these gaps, and the JJA team are currently in contact with the publishers to obtain the missing content. Many of the problems I encountered with the JJA data were due to a lack of bibliographic history information, where a holding was listed under a different (preceding or succeeding) title or ISSN. In Brill, for example, the holdings for six titles (of 194) were indexed under a different title/ ISSN; for the IOP the holdings for eight titles (of 64) were listed under a different title/ ISSN and for CUP four titles (of 200+) had the same problem. I have rectified any such issues, updating and amending the metadata for each holding, ensuring that the bibliographic information is accurate. We also aim to enrich this data further by adding the coverage note information for each record (which includes any bibliographic history). The JJA team are in the process of implementing these changes and updates across the archive collections.
Once completed, and once the gaps in content have been filled, the end result will be a comprehensive journal archives collection with accurate and rich bibliographic metadata. As a Data Manager (and Librarian) I understand the importance of having access to a trusted data source. Quality data not only helps the librarian community; it also means better searching and discoverability, which ultimately benefits the end user. This is why we (Data Managers at KB+) do what we do. It may be painstaking work, but we know it’s worth it.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Once attendance has been confirmed directions to the venue will be sent out to you.
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.
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 email@example.com
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.