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.

Release 2 of KB+ Meeting

On Wednesday we had our first meeting showing the brand new features Release 2 of KB+. There were presentations during the day from some of the many partners working on KB+, Liam (JISC Collections), Owen (Owen Stephens Consulting) and David (Sero Consulting).

KB+ is a community driven project as highlighted by the range of people involved, JISC, JISC Collections, EDINA, MIMAS, Sero, GOKb, Knowledge Integration Ltd, not to mention those institutions using KB+ and groups such as SCONUL. Much of the functionality and features within KB+ are as of a direct result of collaboration with institutions and throughout the day there was a call for further input and participation.

Liam started the day with an overview of KB+ and it was great to see the growing interest from the community. JISC have added further resource to the project with the addition of new data managers (of which I am one) to work on loading more packages within the knowledge base and helping institution switch on their subscriptions taken. Future plans for KB+ include looking into ebooks and open access however further investigation into the most useful and effective method to collate and present this information is yet required.

Key Dates

Key Dates

Owen was next up providing a live demo of the new functionality in release 2 of KB+ including the new permissions model, adding organisation and role information to licenses and subscriptions and supporting the renewal cycle. Prior to the demo Owen provided an overview to the terminology and structure of the system. With regards to the renewal cycle they worked closely with Kings College London, University of Huddersfield and University of Stirling to gain a good understanding of their workflows & ensure the system can support it. Owen described the work flow to renewals as ‘Collect, Compare. Correct and Commit’, a description of the workflow is available at https://knowledgebaseplus.wordpress.com/kb-support/kb-discussion-documents/renewals/
The  new renewals basket feature within KB+ allows you to compare one package title list with another once satisfied they can be marked as renewed and loaded back into the system. JISC Collections are working on uploading the 2013 collection currently (blog post on progress, to follow) but will also be looking at the 2014 titles and non-NESLI publishers. With the greater content there will be more opportunity to fully exploit all the new features of release 2. Feedback on the new functionality was requested including suggestions for improvements or additional data. (A screencast of Owen’s presentation will be available shortly)

David led the afternoon session talking about developments for the year including release 3 where ‘Improvement’, ‘Integration’ and ‘Collaboration & Community’ were all key elements. Greater integration with other services such as JUSP, ELCat, link resolvers etc are essential to making KB+ more effective and fitting more closer with the requirements and workflows of institutions. Building on the key theme of the day of encouraging institutions to communicate and collaborate we were divided into groups and worked on an exercise to provide user stories on how institutions would like to be communicated with and on what topics.These stories will provide the developers with valuable insight with regards to new features in KB+

The value of the KB+ lies within the knowledge and experience of the community it serves and therefore we are keen to hear from institutions about their workflows, requirement, suggestions and possible collaborations.

Maximising the Knowledge Base

Last week we completed three days of meetings in London (6-9 July) bringing together expertise from the JISC Collections KB+ and Global Open Knowledgebase (GOKb – http://gokb.org/) project partners from North Carolina State University and the University of Pennsylvania plus technology partners Knowledge Integration (http://www.k-int.com).

GOKb was funded in June 2012 by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to build a community-sourced knowledgebase for access to e-resource metadata. It aims to enhance the supply chain lifecycle for libraries in managing e-resources, mobilizing community effort to add quality, timeliness and economies to the library management environment. The project is a joint international initiative between Kuali OLE partners (including Chicago, Duke, Penn and NC State) and JISC Collections.

The UK KB+ project is focused primarily on developing trusted data and workflows for locally negotiated e-resource packages. KB+ recognizes the value of the GOKb international effort in establishing the same quality of data for global titles and packages, covering e-journals and looking beyond to e-books.

The two projects are therefore working together in detail to address globally-identified operational problems, including common transfer formats (KBART-based), data models, rules engine and re-use of the Kuali OLE Document Store repository (https://wiki.kuali.org/display/OLE/OLE+DocumentStore).

The meeting was focused on defining key joint tasks for coming months:

  • Identification and classification of sources of periodic information within the publishing supply chain – for example publisher title lists. Whilst this may sound obvious and straightforward, practitioners are keenly aware of issues regarding format, content and provenance that differ from source to source.
  • Definition of rules and remedial actions relating to the processing of source data – which will range from format standardisation (such as dates) to much more complex update conditions.
  • Specification of an end to end process model and toolset to ingest, transform and process updates with a minimum of human intervention, whilst recognizing the points at which such expertise will be essential (at least in the formative period of operation where rules will need to be optimised and ‘learned’ by the system).
  • Design of a shared data model so that KB+ and GOKb are able to share code (such as the rules base), to present a one-stop approach to import/export in common formats and to identify opportunities for shared services based on once-only management of data.

The partners left London sensing there is even greater scope for collaboration and shared services than was originally envisaged. The challenge will be to convert that opportunity into quality data, code and services, starting with the next joint working group in Chicago in August.

David Kay

KB+ and GOKb project teams in discussion

International links

The Project also has links with other international Knowledge base initiatives such as GoKB initiative in the United States looking to pull together global level publication information. Kristin Antelman from North Carolina State University is part of the Community Advisory Group (CAG) and she recently wrote: “Both KB+ and GOKb are about knowing what we (libraries) have so that we can get our resources to our users, and working together to accomplish that. This is far from an easy problem but it makes total sense to own this problem and to solve it.”