Guest Post — Charleston 2022 — Finding Paths to Open Access Book Publishing

Erich van Rijn looks at the University of California’s Luminos open access books program and reviews lessons learned and what is needed for such programs to succeed.

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Social Media in Libraries: Best Practice From the Austrian National Library

An interview with Marlene Lettner, Claudia Stegmüller and Anika Suck, part of the social media team in the Communication and Marketing Department of the Austrian National Library.

The reach of the Austrian National Library is one of the widest on the social web among libraries in German-speaking countries. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or LinkedIn – the institution keeps its public up to speed through text, photo and video, and it does it successfully! We asked Marlene Lettner, Claudia Stegmüller and Anika Suck, who are in charge of the channels, what the National Library’s social media goals are, which formats generate followers and what the workflow behind the scenes looks like.

Hello! In your opinion, why is it important for libraries and digital infrastructure institutions to be active on social media?

Firstly, to increase our visibility and secondly, because we want to reach our target groups where they like to hang out. Beyond this, as the Austrian National Library, we have a legal mandate to make our collections accessible to a wide public, and social media is perfect for this.

The Austrian National Library runs its own channels on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Why did you decide to use these specific networks and who are your target audiences there?

We cater to our target audiences on all of the channels they use. This means that on Facebook, we communicate with our older target groups who mainly visit our museums. Facebook still offers the best option when it comes to telling our visitors about events too. Instagram is most popular with the target group of 25- to 45-year-olds and it offers some playful features. We mostly use YouTube as a home base for our videos, which we then share on our website or via other social media channels.

What kind of topics do you feature on your social media channels?

We’re not just a library – we’re also home to six museum areas and eight collections – so we need to cover a wide range of topics.

From special exhibitions to events and current blog posts, offers for guided tours and seminars, follower reposts and bizarre discoveries in the archive – we do it all.

To create good content for an institution’s social media channels, you need people who remember the social media team and pass on information, insights and stories. How do you manage to motivate other employees to give you ideas for content?

We are a relatively large institution with almost 400 employees. Luckily, colleagues from the most varied of departments provide us with content on a regular basis. This includes special discoveries from the photo archives, from ANNO (Austrian Newspapers Online) and finds from the hashtag #AriadneFrauDesMonats (“#AriadneWomanOfTheMonth”).

What topics or posting formats work particularly well for you?

Our users like photos of our magnificent ceremonial hall the most, as well as old cityscapes of Vienna.

Antique bookshelves with ladders ladders always work well, as does anything ‘behind-the-scenes’ in addition to unusual, particularly beautiful perspectives. Unusual finds from our collections are also popular.

Has a content idea ever backfired?

Fortunately, we haven’t had a shitstorm yet. And we’ve never had a real fail either. There are, however, some sensitive topics we deal with that might cause a stir. That’s why we try to stick to the facts, stay neutral and not get political. But sometimes people react to something when you’re not expecting it: we recently advertised an event that is taking place throughout Austria that focuses on climate protection this year. Some people misunderstood and reported the post.

In your opinion, what is a good tip that libraries should bear in mind if they want to get started on social media?

As it’s difficult to influence the algorithms, it’s important to experiment and find out what your target audience actually likes. In terms of content, you should aim for quality and stay true to your principles. So don’t share daily politics, polemical content and so on.

And finally, please tell us which formats go down particularly well – both with the public and with the editors.

Stories with GIFs, reels or short videos and anything that gets users interacting with you like exclusive Instawalks, reposts and quizzes. Recurring content like #staircasefriday is also good because the editing is faster, but it still keeps things interesting for users.

Thank you for the interview!
This text has been translated from German.

The Austrian National Library

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About the authors:

Marlene Lettner (LinkedIn), Claudia Stegmüller (LinkedIn und Xing) and Anika Suck (LinkedIn) are part of the social media team in the Austrian National Library’s Communication and Marketing department.

Portraits:
Anika Suck: private©, Claudia Stegmüller: FOTObyHOFER©

All other pictures: Austrian National Library©

The post Social Media in Libraries: Best Practice From the Austrian National Library first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

Just released — new insights into OE in European Libraries of Higher Education 2022

We are pleased to announce the publication of our report, Open Education in European Libraries of Higher Education: Implementing the UNESCO Recommendation on OER.  The report presents the findings of the […]

The post Just released — new insights into OE in European Libraries of Higher Education 2022 appeared first on SPARC Europe.

Speculation on the Most Likely OSTP Nelson Memo Implementation Scenario and the Resulting Publisher Strategies

What is the most likely scenario for implementation of the OSTP’s Nelson Memo? And what strategies will that offer for publishers?

The post Speculation on the Most Likely OSTP Nelson Memo Implementation Scenario and the Resulting Publisher Strategies appeared first on The Scholarly Kitchen.

Adieu to Educopia: An Interview with Katherine Skinner

Read about the history of Educopia and look ahead to its future in today’s interview with co-founder Katherine Skinner, who recently stepped down as their Executive Director

The post Adieu to Educopia: An Interview with Katherine Skinner appeared first on The Scholarly Kitchen.

Libraries on Twitch: Ideas for Starting on the Streaming Platform

by Claudia Sittner

Twitch, actually Twitch.tv, is a live streaming platform. Founded in 2011, it is mainly used for streaming games and e-sports, but you can also broadcast events there, and since 2015 other target groups have been addressed with Twitch Creative. In 2014, Twitch was acquired by Amazon. Since 2016, accounts can be linked to the Amazon Prime programme (Twitch Prime).

This is how the streaming works

The streamers (creators) show how they play a game. One camera is usually directed at the game, a second shows the face of the streamer and thus their immediate reactions during the game (face cam). A chat runs alongside, in which the viewers comment. In this way, the gamers can interact with them, for example, pick up on comments or answer questions.

Sharp rise in streamers during the pandemic

During the coronavirus pandemic, Twitch gained greatly in viewers. In 2020, for example, user numbers doubled; in 2021, Twitch recorded over 1 billion visits per month (German). Over 8 million streamers broadcast there (September 2022, German).

During the lockdown, the platform also became popular for streaming lectures. For example, a teacher from the USA regularly streamed his course about streaming on Twitch.

Follow, subscribe, donate, chat: This is how Twitch works

On Twitch, you can follow streamers or subscribe to their channels. Following is free of charge. With the paid subscriptions, viewers can support the streamer financially. Donations are also possible. Other options for professional streamers to earn money on Twitch are affiliate marketing, where viewers buy articles directly via commission links. The article “Twitch Marketing: What can Twitch do besides gaming?” (German) goes into more detail.

Streams can also be followed without a Twitch account. They are stored on the platform for 30 days and then automatically deleted. In the meantime, a link – and thus preservation – is possible via YouTube, for example. Emoticons are called “emotes” on Twitch. Streamers can activate their own. Emotes can also be added by subscribing to channels.

Who uses Twitch?

The average age of viewers on Twitch is 21 years. In detail, the users of Twitch look like this (German): 65 percent are male, 41 percent are digital natives of Generation Z and thus between 16 and 24 years old. 32 percent of users are between 25 and 34 years old. If you are an older Twitch user, you are considered an exotic. Users come mainly from the USA, France and Great Britain.

Libraries that are considering setting up a channel on Twitch should ask themselves how large the intersection between their target group and Twitch users is. In addition, one can also ask: What can the platform do for us as library staff?

Exotics wanted: Twitch Creative

In 2015, Twitch initiated the “Twitch Creative” project to promote creative formats beyond gaming and e-sports. The promotion consists of making it easier to find the channels of creative streamers. Twitch has thus become a meeting place for users interested in art and culture. Hobbyists, artists and programmers show their work processes live here.

Some unusual accounts have grown up in the wake of Twitch Creative, for example that of the 70-year-old “Bacon Mom“, who has been tinkering with her Minecraft world for years and tells stories of her life. With the new niches in the fields of art, culture and literature, Twitch Creative would probably also be the right place for unusual library, open science or infrastructure streams. Certainly programming or coding formats would also be well accommodated here. Institutions could score points with creative, entertaining or particularly helpful formats.

Example MarmeladenOma

A very charming example of an unusual account is that of grandmother (Oma) Helga Sofie Josefa, who is now over 90 years old. With the help of her grandson Jannik, she has been streaming as MarmeladenOma (meaning Marmelade Granny) for more than five years. On her channel, she regularly takes viewers to her fairytale island and reads stories from books, sometimes for hours. What started out small suddenly gained momentum in 2017 when YouTube star “Gronkh” spontaneously dropped by the live fairy tale hour undercover with a few thousand fans (German) , almost causing Helga Sofie Josefa’s server to crash and the old lady to be amazed because the number of incoming comments skyrocketed.

The account now has more than 70,000 followers. The fans like the authentic and loving manner of MarmeladenOma. She reminds them of their grandmother and the reading sessions from their childhood. When the videos are deleted from Twitch after 30 days, they can then be found on the streamer’s 240,000 subscriber YouTube channel (German). In the meantime, she has become a real celebrity beyond the scene and has been to industry events such as Gamescom. If you want to learn more about MarmeladenOma, I recommend this article (German). This example shows that even with simple tools, good ideas can take off and lead to successful and wide-reaching channels.

Libraries on Twitch

So far, libraries have been largely absent from Twitch. “The few libraries that currently use Twitch for programming use it for gaming and e-sports, online workshops, and other programs, such as art, book clubs, and guest speakers,” says an article in the American Libraries Magazine. And further “that Twitch is already being used in some higher education settings for language learning, lectures, coding demonstrations, and office hours”. All ideas that could also be implemented in libraries.

In German-speaking countries, the Pfalzbibliothek (Pfalz Library) or the KLAR project (German) of the Stadtteilbibliothek Klarenthal (District Library) in Wiesbaden are active on Twitch. Mainly lectures are streamed. The target groups are young people and their parents. The KLAR project started with the micro-influencer Koriwan. This is certainly also a good way for libraries to draw attention to themselves.

Getting started on Twitch: Necessary equipment

According to a Twitch guide for beginners (German) the following equipment is needed for a successful start:

  • A computer with good performance, ideally not a laptop because their graphics cards are often not as powerful,
  • at least four USB ports for accessories,
  • a good microphone,
  • a webcam,
  • a game capture device,
  • a streaming programme, for example Streamlabs OBS.

The latter can be used to link your own Twitch account with services such as Facebook, Prime or YouTube. In addition, so-called widgets are available. These can be used to add a chat or alerts to the stream for certain events. Events can be new followers or subscribers.

Five success factors for Twitch

As with all social media platforms, success on Twitch is a matter of luck and a long-distance run. Nevertheless, a few things are helpful to increase your chances of growing your number of followers and subscribers:

  1. Always remain authentic and have fun while streaming.
  2. Be creative.
  3. Stay true to your own line: Sometimes success comes from simply doing a certain thing for a very long time.
  4. Stream regularly: This creates reliability and strengthens the bond with the viewers.
  5. Incorporate recurring elements, this creates a brand and a recognition value.

This text has been translated from German.

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About the author

Claudia Sittner studied journalism and languages in Hamburg and London. She was a long time lecturer at the ZBW publication Wirtschaftsdienst – a journal for economic policy, and is now the managing editor of the blog ZBW MediaTalk. She is also a freelance travel blogger (German), speaker and author. She can also be found on LinkedIn, Twitter and Xing.
Portrait: Claudia Sittner©

The post Libraries on Twitch: Ideas for Starting on the Streaming Platform first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

Social Media in Libraries: Best Practice and Tips for Successful Profiles From the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek

Especially when looking at the Facebook (around 11,000 followers) and Instagram channels (3,700 followers) of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB), it quickly becomes clear that they are doing something pretty right on social media. In addition, the BSB is active on Twitter, YouTube and Flickr in various ways. We asked two members of staff about their target groups, recipes for success and topics that are doing particularly well.

An interview with Peter Schnitzlein and Sabine Gottstein from the press and public relations division of the Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek in Munich.

Why do you think it is important for libraries and digital infrastructure institutions to be active on social media?

Here we can only refer to the interview published on ZBW MediaTalk on the seven “glorious” reasons: Why libraries have to be permanently active on social media!

Today, certain target groups can simply no longer be reached with “classic” communication channels such as press relations or a library magazine – regardless of whether they are published in analogue or digital form. These target groups are more likely to be reached – differentiated according to age and content – via the appropriate and corresponding social media channels. This does not mean that classic communication work will disappear in the foreseeable future – on the contrary. However, it can be stated that social media engagement is taking up an increasingly larger share of a library’s overall communication. We have to take this into account.

You are very active on social media at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. What are your goals with and target groups on the different channels? Why did you choose these of all channels?

The aim of the engagement in social media is primarily to inform about the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, its services, holdings and information and usage offers, to interest people in the library or to positively influence the perception of the library and, if necessary, to strengthen the bond with the library through entertaining elements. The activities serve to make the library visible to the digital or virtual public as an internationally important general and research library as well as an important cultural institution on a local, regional and national level. The social media ideally support the strategic goal of the BSB to be perceived as Germany’s leading digital library with extensive, innovative digital usage offers and as a treasure house of written and visual cultural heritage. We attach great importance to participation and networking with specialist communities and stakeholders in our communication.

As extensive and wide-ranging as the fields of action of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek are, as diverse and varied are the target groups that need to be considered and served. We operate our own channels on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr. With these five social media channels selected by the library, we hope to be able to address the majority of the target groups in an appropriate manner. Roughly formulated and certainly strongly generalised, we can state the following:

  1. Twitter primarily serves professional communities, thematically related institutions or multiplier groups such as press and media representatives.
  2. Instagram is intended to reach a younger target group (20-35 years of age),
  3. Whereas Facebook is aimed more at the 30 to 55 age group. The two channels should appeal to users as well as to a broad audience with an affinity for culture and libraries.
  4. With YouTube, we want to address not exclusively, but primarily everyone over 16, actually everyone who is at home in the digital world. Explanatory videos on webinars, on how to use the library or a new app are just as much in demand here as the presentation of special library treasures. Video content is currently the measure of all things and we will pay special attention to this channel in the future.
  5. We use the photo portal Flickr less as a social media channel than as a documentation site, to offer important pictures of the building or of exhibition posters in one central place, and for external requests for pictures of the BSB.

In addition to the corporate channels, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek also operates numerous specialist channels for individual departments, projects or specialist information services. The reason for this is the fact that certain (specialist) target groups cannot be successfully addressed through corporate channels. In view of the immense range of subject areas covered by the BSB, the central social media editorial team cannot have the professional expertise needed to cover all these topics in detail. Coordination processes would be too time-consuming and lengthy to successfully create content and to be able to act quickly and efficiently – a very important aspect in social media communication.

How long have you been present in social media?

The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek dedicated itself to this field of communication relatively early on. We have been active on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube since 2009, on Flickr since 2007 and on Instagram since 2016. At present, we have no plans for further expansion of activities. In view of the short-lived nature and speed of innovation in this area, however, this may change in the short term. In this respect, only a daily status report is possible here.

What topics take place on your social media channels?

The content that the BSB posts can be summarised well, as mentioned above, under “inform, interest, entertain”. The same content is often published on Facebook and Twitter, although more specialist topics that are primarily intended to interest the specialist community and multipliers tend to be published on Twitter. On Instagram, the decisive criterion is always the appealing picture, and recently video. In general, a certain entertainment factor plays just as much a role on Instagram as on Facebook as the primary approach of informing.

In order to “feed” the social media channels well for an institution like yours, you need people who think of the social media team and pass on information and stories, who are perhaps also willing to make an appearance themselves. How do you get other staff to provide you with information, stories and ideas for your channels?

The topics are recruited in close cooperation and constant exchange with our internal specialist departments. There are social media contacts there who report relevant content from their own department to the central social media editorial team. The latter, in turn, also inquires specifically in the departments if necessary. Our directorate expressly supports and welcomes the active participation of the departments, project groups and working groups in the social media work of the house.

The social media team also actively establishes references to other cultural and academic institutions, picks up on library-relevant topics and comments on them. The creation of a thematic and editorial calendar with anniversaries, jubilees, events, etc. also facilitates the identification of suitable content for the social media channels.

In the press and public relations division, something like a central “newsroom” is currently being set up. This is also, where information for press topics or content for library magazines should come in. The social media editorial team will automatically learn about topics, which are primarily intended for other communication channels. The team can then decide to what extent they should be included in the social media work.

Which topics or posting formats work particularly well for you and why?

In general, we can see that postings related to current events work well:

Tweet of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek regarding the participation in the SUCHO (Search for Ukrainian Cultural Heritage) project (German)

For example, our tweets condemning the invasion of Ukraine (German) or our participation in the SUCHO project (Search for Ukrainian Cultural Heritage, German) achieved a wide reach, as did a humorous tip to cool off in the hot summer month of July. The start of a library exchange with colleagues from the German National Library (DNB) and the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (Berlin State Library; SBB), which just started in Munich, triggered many interactions on Twitter.

On Facebook, the World Book Day post (German) on 22 April referring to the Ottheinrich Bible, one of our magnificent manuscripts, together with a series of archive photos of archive photos of Queen Elisabeth II (German) ) on the occasion of her death were very successful.

Appealing images on Twitter and Facebook – especially posts with three- or four-image compositions – are still crucial for success. Embedding videos on these two social networks, on the other hand, surprisingly does not achieve the desired result on our channels. On the contrary. These posts and tweets achieve low reach and popularity.

On Instagram, on the other hand, short videos in the form of reels are becoming more and more important alongside good picture posts in the feed (German), accompanied by casual, often humorous descriptions. We used this format successfully, especially for our exhibition #olympia72inbildern (#olympia72inpictures, German). Both formats also benefit from being referred to via stories.

Sometimes things go wrong in social media. What was your best fail?

Fortunately, nothing has ever really gone wrong – with one exception (see below). However, every now and then we are (justifiably) reminded that we should not forget to gender in our tweets.

Have you ever had a shitstorm? What have you learned from it?

Yes, we had, at least to some extent – and we don’t like to think back on it. However, we have learned a lot from the incident in dealing with social media. The basic mistake at the time was not to have taken into account the specific requirements of each channel with regard to the wording, the approach to followers and fans and the willingness to explain.

Tips & tricks: What are your tips for libraries that would like to get started with social media?

First of all, it is important to do an honest and thorough analysis. Social media ties up resources, and quite a lot of them. Just doing it “on the side” will not lead to the desired result and harbours dangers. If you want to be active, you must have affine personnel with the appropriate know-how and sufficient time resources. It is indispensable to define the target groups and to identify a permanently sufficient number of topics.

While social media was text-based in the early days, today there is no post or tweet without a picture. On some channels, video content is now the measure of all things, just think of the reels on Instagram, video platforms like YouTube or the omnipresent TikTok. They are currently becoming more and more popular and setting trends. These developments must be taken into account in all considerations of online communication.

If you want to use social media as a means of library communication, you have to check whether you can actually afford to operate all the channels that are currently important and which target groups you actually want to serve with which channels. Creating a written concept – even a short one if necessary – helps to answer these questions precisely. For example, concentrating on one channel, true to the motto “less is more”, may be an effective means of operating successfully with limited resources.

Finally, a little peek into the magic box: What are your favourite tools for social media?

With “Creator Studio”, feed posts for Instagram can also be posted conveniently from the computer and not only from the mobile phone, which makes work considerably easier. Then, of course, there is the editorial and topic plan mentioned above. It is the central working tool for keeping track of and working through topics and content across all channels. In addition to news from the management and the departments, it contains as many events, occasions, relevant (birth or death) anniversaries, etc. as possible. Finally, the apps “Mojo” and “Canva” should be mentioned. With their help, we create and edit Instagram stories, reels, social media posts and visual content. This even goes as far as adding royalty-free music to clips.

This text has been translated from German and is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND.

The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek on the net

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This blog article is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND.

We were talking to:
Peter Schnitzlein passed the final examination for graduate librarian (upper level- graduate of a specialized higher education institution (research libraries)), in 1993 and the modular qualification for the highest career bracket for civil servants in Germany (QE4) in 2018. He has been head of press and public relations and spokesman of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek since 2007.
Portait: BSB©, photographer: H.-R. Schulz

Sabine Gottstein studied language, economic and cultural area studies, worked in the field of communications in Germany and abroad and has been working for the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek since 2015. She is the head of the social media team in the press and public relations division.
Portait: BSB©, photographer: H.-R. Schulz

The post Social Media in Libraries: Best Practice and Tips for Successful Profiles From the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

Open Science in Economics: Selected Findings From the ZBW Awareness Analysis 2022

by Doreen Siegfried

From 1 March to 10 May 2022, the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics carried out a wide-ranging awareness analysis among economics and business studies researchers. 401 researchers were surveyed online in a targeted way with a layered test sample of ten defined subgroups. The aim was to get a representative image of the total population of scientifically working people in the field of business studies and economics – both in terms of status groups and specialist discipline. Research assistants and professors from the fields of economics and business administration at universities, universities of applied sciences (UoAS) and non-university research institutions in Germany were surveyed.

Part of the representative study deals with the topic of Open Science. We have summarised selected findings that are not specific to ZBW here.

Open Science: general relevance in economics and business studies research

Question: Research funding organisations (for instance the German Research Foundation, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the EU) are increasingly more urgently demanding free access to academic publications and research data from funded projects (keyword: Open Science) (German). Open Science includes for instance Open Access Publications, Open Research Data and disclosure of the entire research process. Has academic policy already had an impact on your work?

Of all of the parties surveyed, 47 percent said that Open Science currently already plays an important role in their work. 77 percent believe that Open Science will play an important role in the future. Only 16 percent can’t really relate to Open Science (see Fig. 1).

Taking a look at the ZBW 2019 Open Science Study (PDF, German), the proportion of business studies and economics researchers who are unaware of the term ‘Open Science’ has reduced slightly. In 2019, one in five business studies and economics researchers had never heard of the term “Open Science” before.

Looking at the different subgroups, the following picture emerges (see Fig. 2):

In economics, Open Science already plays an important role in the current work routine for almost two thirds (64 percent) of those surveyed. By contrast, this figure is less than a half for business administration at just 45 percent. The picture is also similar for future projections: whereas 85 percent of economics academics say that Open Science will play a role for them in the future, this figure is just 76 percent for business administration academics. As a logical consequence of this is that fewer economists have no connection to the topic of Open Science (9 percent) compared to business economists (17 percent).

There are also disparities between the status groups. Open Science already plays a more important role for research assistants than for professors (54 percent) and will also do so in the future (80 percent), where 38 percent of professors consider Open Science to play an important role now, and 74 percent believe that it will do so in the future. Regarding status groups, research assistants can relate to the topic of Open Science better than professors (see Fig. 2).

Relevance of Open Science Practices

Question: How important are the following Open Science Practices for you personally and/or your own academic work? This includes the use of openly shared research and actively sharing own research?

The researchers who rated Open Science as important now and in the future (see Fig. 1) were asked how important specific Open Science Practices are to them. Open Access Publications play the most important role – they are very important to 44 percent of those surveyed and fairly important to 35 percent.

The ZBW 2019 Open Science Study already showed that Open Access plays a very important role for business studies and economics researchers, scoring an average of 2.5 on a scale of 1=very important role to 5=no role at all. In 2019, 23 percent of economists in Germany confirmed that the concept of Open Access played a very important role. Furthermore, in 2019, 62 percent considered Open Access to be important for them personally. In 2022, this figure was 79 percent.

Open Research Data (see Fig. 3) also seemed to be key for business studies and economics researchers. Open Research Data is a very important topic for a quarter of those surveyed and fairly important for another quarter (27 percent) – open research data thus plays a role for 52 percent of those surveyed. Let’s compare this with the findings of 2019: the fact that research data is provided and published in line with open principles played a very important role for 11 percent and a fairly important role for 31 percent in the year 2019. That is 42 percent combined, meaning the importance of it has increased compared to 2019.

Disclosing the research process is very important for 16 percent of those surveyed and fairly important for 13 percent, meaning a total of 29 percent find it to be important. This is less than a third of those surveyed. For the majority, disclosing the research process currently does not play a key role.

Open Science Services: importance for business studies and economics researchers

Question: And what about the following services in the field of Open Science…how important are these services for you personally?

A well-structured search function for research data plays an important role for business studies and economics researchers. 38 percent find it very important, a further 35 percent find it fairly important – a total of 73 percent, almost three quarters of all those surveyed in all specialist disciplines. By way of comparison, the ZBW 2019 Open Science Study showed similar values. At this time, 77 percent of all people working in business studies and economics wanted information on how to locate Open Research Data more easily.

The ZBW’s 2022 awareness study also shows that the support in locating Open Access Publications is very important for 29 percent and fairly important for 34 percent. The 63 percent in total shows the relevance of this field. Comparing to 2019 again, 76 percent wanted information on Open Access Publication three years ago.

Subject-specific information and guidelines on Open Science Practices currently seem to be relevant for 47 percent in total, that is almost half of all those surveyed. 14 percent find it to be very relevant; 32 percent find it to be fairly relevant. By way of comparison, over three quarters of economics researchers wanted an overview of platforms, tools and applications that support Open Science Practices in 2019. These figures indicate that this need is diminishing.

Tangible subject-specific seminars and workshops on how to handle Research Data represent an exciting offer for two fifths of all those surveyed.

Open Science Services: use by business studies and economics researchers

Question: Have you already tangibly used these services in the field of Open Science

Let’s now take a look at the difference between the ascribed importance of Open Science Services and how they are used. Whereas 73 percent of those surveyed said that they find a well-structured search function for business studies economics research data important, only 32 percent said that they had already used such a search function. Among employees of universities of applied sciences, this figure was 49 percent.

Almost two thirds (63 percent) said that they find it important to have support for Open Access Publications. By contrast, less than a third (26 percent) use such a service – calculated based on all subgroups surveyed. Considering the subgroups, it is noticeable that 31 of economists and as many as 44 percent of researchers at non-university research institutions (usually economists too) have already tangibly used this kind of support at least once.

There is also a difference for subject-specific information und guidelines on Open Science Practices and Tools (see Fig. 4). A fifth (19 percent) of researchers use this offering – among researchers at non-university research institutions, this figure is a third (33 percent; see Fig. 5). Among those who find subject-specific seminars and workshops on how to handle Research Data important, half have also already used these kind of educational services.

Archiving publication and research data: trustworthiness of different providers

Question: With respect to archiving publications and research data, how trustworthy do you find the following providers?

We then asked business studies and economics researchers in Germany how trustworthy they consider various archiving providers to be. Public institutions are the most trusted, with approval from 87 percent in total. It is interesting that this figure is even higher among employees at universities of applied sciences, where 94 percent trust public institutions. Publishers, including the publishing companies Elsevier and Springer, also enjoy a high level of trust at 74 percent. Around two fifths of all those surveyed (39 percent) said that they believe publishers to be very trustworthy and a further 35 percent believed them to be trustworthy. Here too, researchers at universities of applied sciences are ahead with 87 percent of them saying that they trust this group of providers. Big tech companies, on the other hand, are only trusted by 14 percent and 21 percent respectively, which is a fifth of business studies and economics researchers say that big tech companies are not trustworthy at all. Most of those surveyed answered “neither trustworthy or untrustworthy”.

Awareness of the German National Research Data Infrastructure

Question: The National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) should be used to systematically access, network, and secure academics and research databases – which are merely temporarily stored in a decentralised way today – in the long-term, while making these accessible across disciplines and throughout different countries. In one place. For the entire research system. It should be possible to easily locate and use many types of data (including social media data, representative population data and much more). NFDI development is module by module, through various consortia, on a subject-specific basis. In business studies and economics, such consortia include the Consortium for Business, Economic and Related Data (BERD@NFDI) and the Consortium for the Social, Educational, Behavioural and Economic Sciences (KonsortSWD). Have you heard of this NFDI project, or the BERD and/or KonsortSWD consortia?

The NFDI pie chart is self-explanatory. The National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) is not very familiar yet. Then again, this is hardly surprising since these infrastructure projects are still in development.

NFDI: relevance to economists’ work

Question: How important will the new National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) and/or the two economics consortia BERD and KonsortSWD be in the future for your work?

Compared to the current NFDI familiarity among economics researchers in Germany (see Fig. 7), its expected future importance and/or that of the two economics consortia BERD@NFDI and KonsortSWD is relatively high. Around half of those surveyed (53 percent) view it as relevant for their own work. The NFDI is actually very important for 9 percent (see Fig. 8). But as the NFDI is still unknown among 84 percent, a large proportion of those surveyed did not answer the question (31 percent). Only 4 percent are critical and say that the NFDI is not important to them.

The survey has shown that Open Science and the NFDI in particular are regarded as important or potentially important – but more likely in the future. It is the responsibility of the consortia to make their work and the progress made in developing their infrastructures transparent and well-known, and to communicate this on a continuous basis. Furthermore, the survey shows that the academic library work with publishers and/or publishing corporations needs to become the focus of communication.

Conclusion: status quo of Open Science in business studies and economics

So how can these findings be summarised? Has Open Science already made its mark on economists or has interest plateaued somewhat? In which areas should we – the library and Open Science community – now take action?

Not only research funding organisations but also top economics research journals are now demanding that academics share their data and codes. For this reason, there are numerous special research fields or post-graduate programmes that have integrated training in Open Science Practices into their curricula. It’s almost impossible to ignore the discussion surrounding Open Science. That’s why it is also not surprising that over three quarters of those surveyed believe that Open Science will play a major role in the future.

It is however very clear that younger researchers – that are research assistants – are more interested in Open Science than professors. An awareness of the need for future skills in academic work and a creative drive to change the research system (at least in part) combine to form a “young avantgarde”.

The high level of trust in publishing corporations is noteworthy. Critical scrutiny of power structures and independent community-owned infrastructures has not yet taken place to a sufficient degree.

Libraries can play a role here: it would be good if they could be vocal in communicating their own skills and services for networked and digitally independent academia. The times of libraries quietly working away unnoticed are definitely over.

This text has been translated from German.

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About the Author:

Dr Doreen Siegfried is Head of Marketing and Public Relations at the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics. She can also be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Portrait: ZBW©

The post Open Science in Economics: Selected Findings From the ZBW Awareness Analysis 2022 first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

User Experience in Libraries: 35 Promising Starting Points for Entry and Exchange With Like-minded People

by Claudia Sittner

It all started with the article by ZBW colleague Nicole Clasen in August 2020: User Experience for Libraries: The Best Tools and Methods for Beginners. By the way, I recommend this article to everyone who is not yet familiar with UX. I then found the topic of “user experience in libraries” so exciting that I started a series of interviews. People in charge of UX from infrastructure institutions in eight European countries had their say, from staff from small and specialised libraries in individual subject areas to national libraries and purely digital services. For the curious: You can find the list of institutions at the end of this article.

The questions were always the same. For the purely digital Finnish services of finna, we varied them a little. The period: August 2020 to April 2022, which means that the coronavirus pandemic interfered with the interviewees’ UX activities everywhere. This article is based on the answers to the last interview question, „What are your tips for libraries that would like to start with UX? What is a good starting point?“ and on my own research. It offers an overview and starting points for all those who would like to get started with user experience in libraries but don’t know exactly how – of course without claiming to be complete.

Exchange ideas at the UX Roundtable

In July 2021, ZBW colleagues Alena Behrens and Nicole Clasen launched a UX Roundtable. Since then, it has taken place online about four times a year. The aim is to exchange ideas about user experience and usability in libraries and at universities across institutional boundaries in the German-speaking world and thus make libraries and information facilities more human-centred. From 2023 onwards, the informal UX Roundtable will merge into a Special Interest Group (SIG) “User Experience in Libraries” at the professional association for employees in libraries “Berufsverband Information Bibliothek“ (BIB, German).

The SIG is aimed at colleagues from public and academic libraries, from other information institutions as well as from research and teaching. From newcomers to library all-rounders to UX experts, everyone is welcome! If you are interested, please contact Alena Behrens or Nicole Clasen from the user services department of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics or Sina Menzel from the UX Office at the university library of the Freie Universität Berlin.

Attend a UX conference

Library staff from academic and public libraries from all over the world meet every summer for this interactive conference at a venue in the UK. “I attended the UXLib Conference a couple of years ago and I found the talks and workshops incredibly interesting and inspiring. Reach out to other staff members doing similar things to what you would like to do. I met a few people at the conference that were very helpful in keeping in contact and were happy to exchange ideas, etc.” (Aimee Andersen, UK). The international conference “User Experience in Libraries” (#UXLibs) focuses on a specific aspect of UX research and design each time; for example, “UX and Organisational Culture” in 2022, “From Research to Design” in 2019 or “Inclusion” in 2018.

The visit of the “International Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries” is also interesting for UX novices. The goal of library performance measurement and evaluation is to understand how well a library is meeting the needs of stakeholders in order to make improvements. Key features of library performance measurement also include the active use of qualitative and quantitative data to improve services and the user experience, and the communication of the results and outcomes of assessment activities.

Looking around on websites

Andy Priestner is considered a pioneer in the field of UX in libraries in Europe. In addition to workshops and the annual #UXLibs conference, his website offers helpful information for getting started.

Ned Potter’s website is also worth a visit. Tip for beginners: the resource list for UX in libraries provides a good introduction to the basics.

Read articles and studies

  1. What is a UX librarian?
  2. UX in libraries: It’s all about inclusion!
  3. The presentation “User-oriented design of library websites” (PDF, German) by Martin Blenkle offers a very impressive and entertaining introduction to the basic problems users have with library websites thanks to many examples. For example, in response to the question “What are the most common problems with library websites?” a user wrote on Twitter “The site is most overtly ‘about the library’ when it should be that the site *is* the library.”
  4. Users at the Center of Everything – A crash course in UX for your library by Callan Bignoli and Lauren Stara.
  5. Ethnographic study of the library at Fresno Pacific University (California, USA, PDF), albeit from 2009. The two guiding questions of the study: What is student life like at a public comprehensive university in the early 21st century? How might the library better adapt its services to student practices while still accomplishing the educational mission of an academic library? The aim was to use this to increase library usage and improve the user experience.
  6. The Only UX Reading List Ever, although not specifically library related and last updated five years ago.
  7. UX Myths, for fun: collects the most common misconceptions about user experience and explains why they are not true.

The classic way: get into the subject with books

If you work in a library, this tip might seem obvious: but there are a few books that are particularly useful for getting started with UX.

  1. Useful, Usable, Desirable: Applying User Experience Design to Your Library by Aaron Schmidt and Amanda Etches
  2. User Experience in Libraries – Applying Ethnography and Human-Centred Design edited by Andy Priestner and Matt Borg
  3. Good Services – How to Design Services that Work by Lou Downe
  4. The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
  5. Rocket Surgery Made Easy – The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems by Steve Krug. “I really recommend Krug’s method for usability testing – it’s easy to set up, can be done remotely, and always leads to actionable insights.” (Kitte Dahrén, Sweden)
  6. Universal Methods of Design by Bella Martin and Bruce Hanington: The book contains guidance on 100 research methods, synthesis/analysis techniques and research findings.
  7. A Handbook of User Experience Research & Design in Libraries by Andy Priestner is a must-read according to Kitte Dahrén (Sweden), as are all the yearbooks of the #UXLibs conference, all available on their website.
  8. The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide by Leah Buley.
  9. User Experience in the Library (PDF), Routledge FreeBook with various excerpts from other books, is also good for reading into them and for checking if they are worth buying.

Get started with the Design Thinking Toolkit

“Design Thinking for Libraries” offers a great free toolkit that help you get started, it is filled with practical advice and plenty library related examples.” says Larissa Tijsterman from the University of Amsterdam Library in her interview.

Stay up to date on the topic with newsletters

This tip is from the interview with Kitte Dahrén from the Swedish SLU University Library, at different locations: The “Nielsen Norman Group offers a lot of useful articles and a newsletter well worth subscribing to.”

“From the UX guru Andy Priestner there is also a mailing list. In it he also promotes the annual #UXLibs conference he co-organises.” says ZBW colleague Alena Behrens .

Find like-minded people on Twitter

The library scene’s favourite social network also offers a communicative entry point for the topic of user experience, for example via the hashtags #uxlib, #uxlibs, #libux, #libraryux. Other helpful hashtags are #uxresearch, #uxdesign, #userexperience, #libraries. “For me, it all started with watching Twitter, which allowed me to understand what is being done and offered in other libraries. Then I followed a training course with Nathalie Clot, director of the Angers University library, to understand and use UX methods.” (Nicolas Brunet-Mouyen, Paris).

Lively discussions about and many ideas on UX in libraries can be found on Twitter. It is also easy to get in touch with the experts. In addition, there are several accounts that are worth following. Here is a small selection to get you started:

  1. Not surprisingly: Andy Priestner: Consultant/trainer User Experience Research & Design, failure, LEGO Serious Play. Creator: @UXLibs. Book: A Handbook of UX Research & Design in Libraries.
  2. UX in Libraries: International community sharing User Experience (UX) research & design practice in libraries. Annual conference & yearbooks. UXLibs7 will take place in June 2023.
  3. WeaveUX: Journal of Library User Experience. Open access, peer-reviewed journal published by @M_Publishing and managed by a team of passionate library UXers.
  4. Nathalie Clot: University Librarian @BUAngers, Angers, France. #Antifragilista Advocacy for useful, usable and desirable libraries #Uxlibs #BUAPro, She/her.

Eight steps for a successful UX in your library: these are the tips from European experts.

Below are the condensed and summarised tips for getting started with user experience from the experts we interviewed. In the course of the interviews, these eight steps emerged:

  1. Identify the status quo: “Start mapping out what are the goals and strategy of the organisation. Map existing services and identify bottlenecks that need to be addressed.” (Margus Veimann, Estonia)
  2. Pick low-hanging fruits: “Don’t try to move mountains the first thing you do. Start small, and preferably with something where you control the whole process and can act on stuff that you learn. Let’s say that you and your colleagues argue about some detail, solve it by simply asking or observing your users.” (Kitte Dahrén, Sweden)
  3. Or: “Start with the ‚low hanging fruits‘ – namely problem areas you already know about – and with changes that can be made with relatively little effort. Being successful here will then give you the required motivation to continue, and for these projects, simple UX methods are usually sufficient. You can save advanced techniques for later.” (Jarmo Schrader, Germany)

  4. Have the courage to experiment: “It is mandatory to experiment and always include user research and small learning experiments in every project. This is a cornerstone for creating services that are valuable and accessible for different user groups.” (Margus Veimann, Estonia)
  5. Convince the management: “First and foremost, it is very important to have a sponsor to support your goals. When referring to sponsors, I mean management. If they believe in the idea, they are also willing to invest the necessary resources.” (Jane Makke, Estonia)
  6. Or: “In order to make UX truly embedded you need your management on board, but with time and patience, this way of working in your team can create a ripple effect in your organisation.” (Kitte Dahrén, Sweden)

  7. Look beyond your own nose: “To look at what other institutions are already doing is a great starting point. (…) Learn from those that have gone before you! We found that the Library User Experience Community is strong and incredibly supportive and helpful. If in doubt, reach out to people and ask some questions. In our experience Library UXers are more than happy to chat and share advice and thoughts.” (Sinéad Beverland, UK)
  8. Get out and start: “Leaving the house at an early stage and interacting with the users is a key. It is customary that we think that we know all the answers and have the best solution how to solve users’ problems but usually this is the source of the failure.” (Margus Veimann, Estonia)
  9. Keep at it: “However, needs are continually changing – it’s not as if we will ever have reached the stage where we can say: Things will stay like this for ever.” (Ninon Frank, Germany)
  10. Allow mistakes and learn from them: This is the only way to gain insights into what is not working. “Don’t be too hard on yourself, you are meant to make mistakes that is how you discover new insights. Give it time, you might not always end up with a deliverable but you are making waves of change which will be noticeable later on.” (Larissa Tijsterman, Netherlands)

Background: These eight libraries participated

UX staff from infrastructures in eight European countries have now had their say, from small specialist libraries in individual subject areas to national libraries and purely digital services:

  1. Germany: Jarmo Schrader and Ninon Frank from the University Library of Hildesheim,
  2. United Kingdom: Aimee Andersen and Sinéad Beverland from the libraries at the University of Westminster,
  3. Estonia: Margus Veimann and Jane Makke from the National Library of Estonia in Tallinn,
  4. Finland: Riitta Peltonen and Pasi Tiisanoja from Finna, a package of digital services,
  5. France: Nicolas Brunet-Mouyen from the library of the Cergy Paris University,
  6. the Netherlands: Larissa Tijsterman from the University of Amsterdam Library,
  7. Sweden: Kitte Dahrén from the library of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, at different locations,
  8. Slovenia: Tomaž Ul?akar from the Central Economics Library at the University of Ljubljana.

You can find the collected interviews – and some other contributions on user experience in libraries – on ZBW MediaTalk under the keyword User Experience.

Interview partners wanted!
We are looking forward to receiving more examples from all over the world! If you would like to take part in the series “UX in Libraries” or know of an institution that deals with UX, we would be happy to receive an email to team@zbw-mediatalk.eu!

This text has been translated from German.

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About the Author:

Claudia Sittner studied journalism and languages in Hamburg and London. She was a long time lecturer at the ZBW publication Wirtschaftsdienst – a journal for economic policy, and is now the managing editor of the blog ZBW MediaTalk. She is also a freelance travel blogger (German), speaker and author. She can also be found on LinkedIn, Twitter and Xing.
Portrait: Claudia Sittner©

The post User Experience in Libraries: 35 Promising Starting Points for Entry and Exchange With Like-minded People first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

AI in Academic Libraries, Part 3: Prerequisites and Conditions for Successful Use

Interview with Frank Seeliger (TH Wildau) and Anna Kasprzik (ZBW)

We recently had a long talk with experts Anna Kasprzik (ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics) and Frank Seeliger (Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau – TH Wildau) about the use of artificial intelligence in academic libraries. The occasion: Both of them were involved in two wide-ranging articles: “On the promising use of AI in libraries: Discussion stage of a white paper in progress – part 1” (German) and “part 2” (German).

In their working context, both of them have an intense connection and great interest in the use of AI in the context of infrastructure institutions and libraries. Dr Frank Seeliger is the director of the university library at the TH Wildau and has been jointly responsible for the part-time programme Master of Science in Library Computer Sciences (M.Sc.) at the Wildau Institute of Technology. Anna Kasprzik is the coordinator of the automation of subject indexing (AutoSE) at the ZBW.

This slightly shortened, three-part series has emerged from our spoken interview. These two articles are also part of the series:

What are the basic prerequisites for the successful and sustainable use of AI at academic libraries and information institutions?

Anna Kasprzik: I have a very clear opinion here and have already written several articles about it. For years, I have been fighting for the necessary resources and I would say that we have manoeuvred ourselves into a really good starting position by now, even if we are not out of the woods yet. The main issue for me is commitment – right up to the level of decision makers. I’ve developed an allergy to the “project” format. Decision makers often say things like, “Oh yes, we should also do something with AI. Let’s do a project, then a working service will develop from it and that’s it.” But it’s not that easy. Things that are developed as projects tend to disappear without a trace in most cases.

We also had a forerunner project at the ZBW. We deliberately raised it to the status of a long-term commitment together with the management. We realised that automation with machine learning methods is a long-term endeavour. This commitment was essential. It was an important change of strategy. We have a team of three people here and I coordinate the whole thing. There’s a doctoral position for a scientific employee who is carrying out applied research, i.e. research that is very much focused on practice. When we received this long-term commitment status, we started a pilot phase. In this pilot phase, we recruited an additional software architect. We therefore have three positions for this, which correspond to three roles and I regard all three of them as very important.

The ZBW has also purchased a lot of hardware because machine learning experiments require serious computing power. We have then started to develop the corresponding software infrastructure. This system is already productive, but will be continually developed based on the results of our in-house applied research. What I’m trying to say is this: the commitment is important and the resources must reflect this commitment.

Frank Seeliger: This is naturally the answer of a Leibniz institution that is well endowed with research professors. However, apart from some national state libraries and larger libraries, this is usually difficult to achieve. Most libraries do not have a corresponding research mandate nor the personnel resources to finance such projects on a long-term basis. Nevertheless, there are also technologies that smaller institutions need to invest in such as cloud-based services or infrastructure as service. But they need to commit to this, including beyond the project phases. It is anchored in the Agenda 2025/30 that it is a long-term commitment within the context of the automation that is coming up anyway. This has been boosted by the coronavirus pandemic in particular, when people saw how well things can function even when they take place online. The fact that people regard this as a task and seek out information about it correspondingly. The mandate is to explore the technology deliberately. Only in this way can people at working or management level see not only the degree of investment required, but also what successes they can expect.

But it’s not only libraries that have recently, i.e. in the last ten years, begun to explore the topic of AI. It is comparable with small and medium-sized businesses or other public institutions that deal with the Online Access Act and other issues. They are also exploring these kinds of algorithms, in order to find solidarity. Libraries are not the only ones here. This is very important because many of the measures, particularly those at the level of the German federal states, were not necessarily designed with libraries in mind in respect of the distribution of AI tasks or funding.

That’s why we intended our publication (German) also as a political paper. Political in the sense of informing politicians or decision-makers about financial possibilities that we also need the framework to be able to apply. In order to then test things and decide whether we want to use any indexing or other tools such as language tools permanently in the library world and to network with other organisations.

The task for smaller libraries who cannot manage to have research groups is definitely to explore the technology and to develop their position for the next five to ten years. This requires such counterpoints to what is commonly covered by meta-search engines such as Wikipedia. Especially as libraries have a completely different lifespan than companies, in terms of their way of thinking and sustainability. Libraries are designed to last as long as the state or the university exists. Our lifecycles are therefore measured differently. And we need to position ourselves accordingly.

Not all libraries and infrastructure institutions have the capacity to develop a comprehensive AI department with corresponding personnel. So does it make sense to bundle competences and use synergy effects?

Anna Kasprzik:Yes and no. We are in touch with other institutions such as the German National Library. Our scientific employee and developer is working on the further development of the Finnish toolkit Annif with colleagues from the National Library of Finland, for example. This toolkit is also interesting for many other institutions for primary use. I think it’s very good to exchange ideas, also regarding our experiences with toolkits such as this one.

However, I discover time and again that there are limits to this when I advise other institutions; for example, just last week I advised some representatives from Swiss libraries. You can’t do everything for the other institutions. If they want to use these instruments, institutions have to train them on their own data. You can’t just train the models and then plant them one-to-one into other institutions. For sure, we can exchange ideas, give support and try to develop central hubs where at least structures or computing power resources are provided. However, nothing will be developed in this kind of hub that is an off-the-shelf solution for everyone. This is not how machine learning works.

Frank Seeliger: The library landscape in Germany is like a settlement and not like a skyscraper. In the past, there was a German library institute (DBI) that tried to bundle many matters in the academic libraries in Germany across all sectors. This kind of central unit no longer exists, merely several library groups relating to institutions and library associations relating to personnel. So a central library structure that could take on the topic of AI doesn’t exist. There was an RFID working group (German) (or also Special Interest Group RFID at the IFLA), and there should actually also be a working group for robots (German), but of course someone has to do it, usually alongside their actual job.

In any case, there is no central library infrastructure that could take up this kind of topic as a lobby organisation, such as Bitkom, and break it down into the individual companies. The route that we are pursuing is broadly based. This is related to the fact that we operate in very different ways in the different German federal states, owing to the relationship between national government and federal states. The latter have sovereignty in many areas, meaning that we have to work together on a project basis. It will be important to locate cooperation partners and not try to work alone, because it is simply too much. There is definitely not going to be a central contact point. The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) does not have libraries on its radar either. There’s no one to call. Everything is going to run on a case-by-case and interest-related basis.

How do you find the right cooperation partners?

Frank Seeliger: That’s why there are library congresses where people can discuss issues. Someone gives a presentation about something they have done and then other people are interested: they get together, write applications for third-party funding or articles together, or try to organise a conference themselves. Such conference already exist, and thus a certain structure of exchange has been established.

I am the conservative type. I read articles in library journals, listen to conference news or attend congresses. That’s where you have the informal exchange – you meet other people. Alongside social media, which is also important. But if you don’t reach people via the social media channels, then there is (hopefully soon to return) physical exchange on site via certain section days, for example. Next week we have another Section IV meeting of the German Library Association (DBV) in Dresden where 100 people will get together. The chances of finding colleagues who have similar issues or are dealing with a similar topic are high. Then you can exchange ideas – the traditional way.

Anna Kasprzik: But there are also smaller workshops for specialists. For example, the German National Library has been organising a specialist congress of the network for automated subject indexing (German) (FNMVE) for those who are interested in automated approaches to subject indexing.

I also enjoy networking via social media. You can also find most people who are active in the field on the internet, e.g. on Twitter or Mastodon. I started using Twitter in 2016 and deliberately developed my account by following people with an interest in semantic web technologies. These are individuals, but they represent an entire network. I can’t name individual institutions; what is relevant are individual community members.

And how did you get to know each other? I’m referring to the working group that compiled this non-white paper.

Anna Kasprzik: It’s all Frank’s fault.

Frank Seeliger: Anna came here once. I had invited Mr Puppe in the context of a digitalisation project in which AI methods supported optical character recognition (OCR) and image identification of historical works. Exactly via the traditional route that I’ve just described, i.e. via a symposium; this was how the first people were invited..

Then the need to position ourselves on this topic developed. I had spoken with a colleague from the Netherlands at a conference shortly before. He said that they had been too late with their AI white paper, meaning that politics had not taken them into account and libraries had not received any special funding for AI tools. That was the wake-up call for me and I thought, here in Germany there is also nothing I am aware of that is specifically for information institutions. I then researched who had publications on the topic. That’s how the network, which is still active, developed. We are working on the English translation at the moment.

What is your plea to the management of information institutions? At the beginning, Anna, you already spoke about commitment, also from “the very top”, being a crucial factor. But going beyond this: what course needs to be set now and which resources need to be built up, to ensure that libraries don’t lose out in the age of AI?

Anna Kasprzik: For institutions who can, it’s important to develop long-term expertise. But I completely understand Frank’s point of view: it is valid to say that not every institution can afford this. So two aspects are important for me: one is to cluster expertise and resources at certain central institutions. The other is to develop communication structures across institutions or to share a cloud structure or something similar. To create a network in order to spread it around. To enable dissemination, i.e. the sharing of these experiences for reuse.

Frank Seeliger: Perhaps there is a third aspect: to reflect on the business process that you are responsible for so that you can identify whether it is suitable for an AI-supported automation, for example. To reflect on this yourself, but to encourage your colleagues to reflect on their own workflows too, as to whether routine tasks can be taken over by machines and thereby relieve them of some of the workload. For example, in our library association, the Kooperativer Bibliotheksverbund Berlin-Brandenburg (KOBV), we had the problem that we would have liked to set up a lab. Not only to play, but also to see together how we can technically support tasks that are really very close to real life. I don’t want to say that the project failed, but the problem was that first you needed the ideas: What can you actually tackle with AI? What requires a lot of time? Is it the indexing? Other work processes that are done over and over again like a routine with a high degree of similarity? We wanted the lab to look at exactly these processes and check if we could automate them, independently of what library management systems do or all the other tools with which we work.

It’s important to initiate the process of self-reflection on automation and digitalisation in order to identify fields of work. Some have expertise in AI, others in their own fields, and they have to come together. The path leads through one’s own reflection to enter into conversation and to sound out whether solutions can be found..

And to what extent can the management support?

Frank Seeliger: Leadership is about bringing people together and giving impetus. The coronavirus pandemic and digitalisation have put a lot of pressure on many people. There is a saying by Angela Merkel. She once said that she only got around to thinking during the Christmas period. However, you want to interpret that now. Out of habit and because you want to clear the pile of work on your desk during working hours, it’s often difficult to reflect on what you are doing and if there isn’t already a tool that could help. Then it’s the task of the management level to look at these processes and where appropriate to say, yes, maybe the person could be helped with this. Let’s organise a project and take a closer look.

Anna Kasprzik: Yes, that’s one of the tasks, but for me the role of management is above all to take the load off the employees and clear a path for them. This brings another buzzword into play: agile working. It’s not only about giving an impetus, but also about supporting people by giving them some leeway so that they can work in a self-dependent manner. The agile manifesto, so to speak, which also leads to the fact that one creates space for experimenting and allows for failure sometimes. Otherwise, nothing will come to fruition.

Frank Seeliger:We will soon be doing a “Best of Failure” survey, because we want to ask what kind of error culture we really have, as it is sacrosanct. This will also be the topic of the Wildau Library Symposium (German) from 13 to 14 September 2022. In it, we will explore this error culture more intensively. Because it is right. Even in IT projects, you simply have to allow things to go wrong. Of course, they don’t have to be taken on as a permanent task if they don’t go well. But sometimes it’s good to just try, because you can’t predict whether a service will be accepted or not. What do we learn from these mistakes? We talk about it relatively little, mostly about successful projects that go well and attract crazy amounts of funding. But the other part also has to come into focus in order to learn better from it and be able to utilise aspects of it for the next project.

Is there anything else that you would like to say at the end?

Frank Seeliger: AI is not just a task for large institutions.

Anna Kasprzik: Exactly, AI concerns everyone. Even though AI should not be dealt with just for the sake of AI, but rather to develop new innovative services that would otherwise not be possible.

Frank Seeliger: There are naturally other topics, no question about that. But you have to address it and sort out the various topics.

Anna Kasprzik: : It’s important that we get the message across to people that automated approaches should not be regarded as a threat, but rather that by now this digital jungle exists anyway, so we need tools to find our way through it. AI therefore represents new potential and added value, and not a threat that will be used to eliminates people’s jobs..

Frank Seeliger: We have also been asked the question: What is the added value of automation? Of course, you spend less time on routine processes that are very manually. This creates scope to explore new technologies, to do advanced training or to have more time for customers. And we need this scope to develop new services. You simply have to create that scope, also for agile project management, so that you don’t spend 100% of your time clearing some pile of work or other from your desks, but can instead use 20% for something new. AI can help give us this time.

Thank you for the interview, Anna and Frank.

Part 1 of the interview on “AI in Academic Libraries” is about areas of activity, the big players and the automation of indexing.
In part 2 of the interview on “AI in Academic Libraries” we explore interesting projects, the future of chatbots and the problem of discrimination through AI.

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We were talking to:

Dr Anna Kasprzik, coordinator of the automation of subject indexing (AutoSE) at the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics. Anna’s main focus lies on the transfer of current research results from the areas of machine learning, semantic technologies, semantic web and knowledge graphs into productive operations of subject indexing of the ZBW. You can also find Anna on Twitter and Mastodon.
Portrait: Photographer: Carola Gruebner, ZBW©

Dr Frank Seeliger (German) has been the director of the university library at the Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau since 2006 and has been jointly responsible for the part-time programme Master of Science in Library Computer Sciences (M.Sc.) at the Wildau Institute of Technology since 2015. One module explores AI. You can find Frank on ORCID.
Portrait: TH Wildau

Featured Image: Alina Constantin / Better Images of AI / Handmade A.I / Licensed by CC-BY 4.0

The post AI in Academic Libraries, Part 3: Prerequisites and Conditions for Successful Use first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

Guest Post — The Monograph and the Mission: University of Michigan Pledges $1.2 Million to Fund Open Access Book Publishing

The University of Michigan Press discusses its burgeoning open access monograph program.

The post Guest Post — The Monograph and the Mission: University of Michigan Pledges $1.2 Million to Fund Open Access Book Publishing appeared first on The Scholarly Kitchen.