What’s in Release 2 of KB+

We’ve just made Release 2 of KB+ available, which is the culmination of work that started as soon as we made R1 available last September.

This update contains some significant enhancements including:

  •  A facility for Jisc Collections staff to add new Packages and Subscriptions offered to the system
  • Support for ‘renewals’. This is documented at https://knowledgebaseplus.wordpress.com/kb-support/renewing-a-subscription/. This is the first release of the renewals functionality, and we will be looking for feedback so we can improve the process in future releases.
  • New ‘core’ properties. We had some very strong feedback that KB+ should support some more properties related to ‘core’ journals. After the update you will be able to record not only that a title is a ‘core’ title, but also what type of subscription is ‘core’ (Print, Print+Electronic or Electronic – or just a plain Yes or No if you want), and the date at which the title started and stopped being core for you. These ‘core’ properties have been added to the main ‘Subscription Details’ screen.
  • New ‘Issue Entitlement’ full display. On the Subscription details screen KB+ lists the details of the journals included in the subscription with some brief details (the start and end dates for coverage in the subscription, and as just noted the new ‘core’ properties). However KB+ has more information which there is simply not room to display in this simple list. In order to ensure all the relevant information is available we have introduced a new ‘Issue Entitlements’ display. You access it by clicking on the Journal title from the Subscriptions page (this previously took you to the journal online – this link is now next to the title labelled ‘host link’). On the new page you can see the full details for the journal within your subscription, and in the parent ‘package’ (so you can easily compare your coverage details with the package default), as well as displaying details of other packages where the same journal title is available – allowing you to easily see alternative routes of access. The full details of this new screen are documented at https://knowledgebaseplus.wordpress.com/kb-support/subscriptions/issue-entitlement-display/
  • Change notifications. These were introduced in the last update, but have now been extended. Most updates to a Template licence, including changes to the Key Values, will create a change notification on any linked Actual licences. More details are available at https://knowledgebaseplus.wordpress.com/kb-support/licences/updates-to-template-licences/
  • This update also includes a number of small enhancements to the UI – including more concise and consistent date formats (yyyy/mm/dd throughout) and default sort orders for some lists. We have some further enhancements identified but that we were unable to get into this release

We’ve updated the online documentation in line with the changes and as previously this is available from https://knowledgebaseplus.wordpress.com/kb-support/

Thank to everyone who has given feedback on KB+ to date, and helped us test and develop the system. Of course we have tested all the updates going intothe release, but if you notice any oddities or issues after the update tomorrow, please let us know via kbplus@jisc-collections.ac.uk

Advertisements

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.