The 5% rule
If you don't know the 5% rule, that doesn't mean it doesn’t have a profound effect on you. You may call it something else - the standing order rule, or the law of cumulative consequences - but here is how it works.
You are a librarian. You subscribe to 100 databases. They cost $100,000 per year. You and your faculty have made some wonderful decision selecting the databases and now all your needs are met. Then the next year rolls around and you discover that all your databases have increased in price by 5%. Luckily so did your database budget, so you pay the bill in full. Then the next year rolls around… and the next, and the next… each with a 5% increase.
Even if you are lucky enough to have a matching 5% budget increase every year, you will never be able to afford an additional database. And if your budget only grows by 3%, or not at all, or heaven forbid, it gets cut, then you either have to eliminate some of your databases or allow the database budget’s percentage of the overall budget to grow and grow. After all, you cannot subscribe to 95% of a database. It is all or nothing.
Here is how the 5% rule will eat you out of house and home in 25 years.
The following charts are based on a 1 million dollar library budget growing at a rate of 3% per year for 25 years and a database budget growing at a rate of 5% per year.
Note that in 25 years the database budget has grown from 10% of the overall budget to 16%. That extra 6% may not look like much in a pie chart, so let’s translate it into “books”. Let’s say the book budget bears the full brunt of the 6% that is lost from the remaining budget and that book costs, like database costs, continue to rise at 5% per year.
In 25 years the cost of your 100 databases would more than triple to $322,510, as would the cost of books – up to $323 per book. Even worse, the amount of money available to purchase books would go down to $84,040 as the database budget gobbles up a greater and greater percentage of the book budget. Instead of buying 25,000 books over 25 years, the library would only be able to purchase 15,079.
The moral of the story is to beware subscriptions, standing orders, and monthly fees, whether you are a librarian or a consumer. If you still have your cell phones, Internet, and cable plans in 25 years, you may be dining out less and eating a lot more peanut butter.
by Kent Millwood
A “Click-Through” is invisible to the average database user, but incredibly useful. A “Click-Through” is where a user finds a citation to an article in one database and “clicks through” to the full text article located either in another database or on the publisher’s website.
That’s a little like reaching into your freezer and pulling out a steak – from someone else’s freezer.
If both databases are provided by the same vendor, then the click-through is transparent. You won’t even know you’ve left the database in which you conducted the search.
If the article is in the database of another vendor, or on the publisher’s website, then the transaction may require one or more additional clicks, each one requiring a decision on the user’s part. It may also involve logging into the university’s proxy server.
Not all click-throughs lead to a database. Many of the library’s current periodical subscriptions come with free access to back issues via the publisher’s website. In some cases back issues are limited to five, ten or 15 years. In other cases, they go all the way back to volume one. This is an important fact that must be taken into consideration when evaluating current periodical subscriptions. Even if students are not using the current periodical, the subscription may be worthwhile if they are using the free back issues made available through the click-through process.
Click-throughs sometimes take the user to databases they might not otherwise use. For instance, about one fourth of the circulations in the New York Times Database are the result of click-throughs from other databases.
Ever since the creation of online information, the holy grail of libraries has been a single Google-like” search engine that can find all of the library’s resources. Much progress has happened this year with the introduction of EhIS (EBSCOhost Integrated Search), which currently searches 28 databases and soon will search twenty more. But that’s not all! It will also be adding - the Library Catalog!
In the meantime, the new Library Catalog has expanded its purview to include not only the library’s books, ebooks, and media, but also all EBSCO databases, Britannica Online, and current online newsfeeds, such as Google News and Greenville Online.
So now our databases search our library catalog and our library catalog searches our databases!
Everything is getting bigger and better!
The Thrift Library’s Knowledge Base,
by Kent Millwood
When people constantly ask you the same questions - What are your hours? Where is the bathroom? How much are photocopies? - I have learned to create a sign and post it near the point of use.
Some questions require instructions - How do I log onto wireless in the library? How do I find a specific journal? What is plagiarism? These tend to require documents of varying length, sometimes even manuals.
With the creation of the digital library, all of the library’s signs and documents moved online. We now have both Student and Faculty FAQs, Policies, How-Tos, research Pathfinders, countless Point of Use Instructions, Maps and Directions, the Library’s Hours and Calendar, and even Library Orientations, Tutorials, and Self Help Quizzes – all accessible 24/7, from anywhere in the world.
With over 100 documents added, just this semester, the library home page is getting a little crowded, and is now in the process of a redesign.
The first step in this redesign was the creation of a “Knowledge Base” – a sort of online manual to the digital library and miscellaneous other topics of interest to faculty. The Knowledge Base is simply a topics page containing hyperlinks to answers, instructions, and supporting documents - even websites.
Although still under construction, over two dozen topics are now available. If you look carefully, you will notice a strong correlation between the content of the Thrift Library Knowledge Base and this blog. The blog and the Knowledge Base are the library’s attempt to promote and assist faculty in the Mobile Learning Initiative.
Want to know how to keep up on educational technology? Use the Knowledge Base’s introductory article on Keeping Up, and then explore the accompanying hyperlinks. Want to know how to find free digital classroom materials, including lectures? Use the Knowledge Base.
You are invited to not only use the Knowledge Base, but also help create it. There may be topics you are more knowledgeable about than we are. If so, submit a page on your topic of interest, and we will post it. Got a good web link? Send it on. Looking for a topic, but can’t find it? Let us know and we will research it and post the results for you, and everyone else, to use.
Despite over 200,000 apps created so far for the iPhone and iPad, many of which are free, most libraries are still woefully under supported. If the goal is to allow mobile users access to the library’s catalog, databases, and all other resources and services, then we still have a long way to go in 2010.
Sometimes apps provide value-added features. In many cases, though, users have to settle for a url link to a portal designed for use on a mobile device. In most cases this provides a much less user-friendly experience than that found on laptops or PCs.
Part of the problem is that most libraries lack the technical support to write their own apps. Vendors have been slow to react to react as well, though that is changing and the environment could reverse itself during 2011.
Here are some “library” apps that are available right now:
EBSCO Databases – The Thrift Library now subscribes to over 30 popular EBSCO databases including the mega-database Academic Search Premier. Together, these databases provide indexing to almost 60,000 periodicals and full text to over 13,000.
Google Books for Mobile http://books.google.com/m Also good for other PDF collections such as Project Guttenberg.
H.W. Wilson Databases – The Thrift library subscribes to 6 H.W. Wilson databases indexing over 8,000 periodicals with full text access to almost 5,000 titles.
NAXOS This music database containing almost 700,000 tracks allows play back of “play lists” on mobile devices. The catch is that you cannot search the database for recordings not already saved to a playlist, and only faculty can create playlists.
NetLibrary – NetLibrary is a collection of up to 200,000 eBooks found in many libraries across the world. Most title are in the user friendly PDF format and may be accessed by the nook from Barnes & Noble, Sony Digital Readers (PRS-300, 505, 600, 700 and 900), as well as the COOL-ER. – not to mention any PC or Mac with Adobe Acrobat Reader on it. However, iPhones and iPads, and the very popular Kindle are not currently supported.
OCLC – This grand old institution has been at the cutting edge of library technology since its inception in 1967. Here are some free library/library-like apps:
· CampusBooks – Find free textbooks (iPhone or Android)
· BookMinder – Create a personalized list of books that interest you (Android)
· iRecommend – See which books you should be reading (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad)
· iBookshelf – Create your personal portable book database (iPhone and iPad)
· MyLibrary – Organize your personal media collection (iPhone and iPad)
· MyBox Office – Keep track of your DVD and VHS movies (iPhone and iPad)
· Disc Tracker – View your CD collection (iPhone and iPad)
More information on the apps and links mentioned here can be found on the Thrift library’s Knowledge Base.
Changing Times: The Impact of Technology on Libraries and Classrooms
- By Kent Millwood
I remember my first computer. Many years ago as the director of a different library I unpacked my brand new Tandy TRS-80 with combined B&W monitor and keyboard, and two 5 ½” floppy drives and marveled at all the wonderful things my library would now be able to do.
I couldn’t wait to create catalog cards by computer. Oh, Brave New World!
Just then my assistant walked in the room and informed me in an angry (and I now realize) frightened voice, that if she had to use “it”, she would quit. Welcome to the new age of technology.
Change can be frightening at any time, but when it is overwhelming, it can leave us feeling incompetent, irrelevant, and lost. So how do you handle what is quickly becoming a sea change in educational technology when you don’t even have time to master all the bells and whistles on your cell phone?
How does the old joke go? How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
To help faculty, staff, and administration keep up with educational technology, its gadgets, its techniques, its principles, and how it is changing libraries and classrooms, the library has created a webpage to cull the best articles, blogs, and websites, and organize them for your use. Over time, this annotated bibliography, will grow into a clearing house of information on topics such as open content, RSS feeds, eBooks, video lectures and podcasts, Teacher Tube, mobile devices, cloud computing, Millennials, and digital teaching and learning.
It will identify the big players in educational technology such as EDUCAUSE, Connexions, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Creative Commons, OCLC, and, yes, Google. It will direct you to free educational materials and software, tips and techniques, free online conferences, workshops, and tutorials, and seminal discussions.
Moreover, you are invited to suggest topics of personal interest and even to guest blog. So, if for instance, you know a lot about iPads or Moodle, here is a chance to share your experience.