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* Monday, March 19, 2007

20070319-04 CIC Conference: The Agile Organization panel

Frank Menchaca, Thompson-Gale

TG is like libraries in that some pieces of the organization are agile but others are in a horrible state of atrophy

how are decisions made in companies that affect products

TG takes into account:

1. the end user
no longer look only at librarians for input and feedback; librarians are one part of the spectrum of people they talk to for market research

2. business models
they are in a perpetual mode of change and transformation
continually looking for new business models, which affects the projects they do
have to think through new business models where they didn't digitize or originate material
increasingly need to think about the user experience, not the product - that's what creates the stickiness of anyone's material
Wikipedia succeeds at being accessible; in the information world, we have ridden the authority horse too much and we've talked ourselves into the greatness of authority at the expense of accessibility

3. access
integrating 18th century newspaper collection into a collection of 18th century books
hope it is a different experience than the pay-per-view or free versions
better that they find out if this is true by trying something than by not trying anything
making our metadata and parts of our collection accessible out on the internet
includes micro sites ("Goliath" that sells business content to business professionals for $19/month)
putting some one Google
placing content in the pathway where users are asking questions

4. the question of people
Gale is like a library - employee people who have been cataloging and indexing for 45 years
but this is no longer at the center of what they do (east of the periphery now)
need people who ask different kinds of questions of users now - no longer recruit from publishing or libraries when looking for these types of people
increasingly, his editors have a charge to go out and be in the market 50% of the time in which they need to sell their products & use that time to understand the curriculum, understand the needs of the institution

what the future means for them is:
- spending more and more physical time with customers and end users
- becoming a hybrid organization where the people harvesting that knowledge are bringing it back to the organization to spawn new product ideas

his job is pull people along and hire others to push
little fish in the big pond have to keep moving in order to avoid being eaten up

Christopher McKenzie, John Wiley & Sons

killing the sacred cow of textbooks and libraries
textbooks are broken - how do we know? no one is happy
- students
- faculty
- librarians
- administrators
- publishers

40/40/20 - an increasing number of students are not buying textbooks at all, new or used
faculty don't recognize this
used book buying affects textbook publishers and students
ebooks not taking off

legislators are promoting solutions

his solution: digital
- always current
- lower cost
- improves student outcomes (for enhanced products, not just replications)
- reduces faculty workload
- easier fulfillment
- no used book/importation

new models:
- course-by-course adoption
- all adopted courses
- "Big Deal" lite (open all titles to anyone that wants to use them)

went through some statistics for the economics of course materials

Libraries' Role
- libraries are at the center of the stakeholder
- issues
- budget
- logistics
- selection by faculty
- expertise
- licensing
- implementation
- user training
- expansive knowledge of worthwhile content
- leverage investment in other content
- leverage Course Management Systems

Stephen Rhind-Tutt, Alexander Street Press

- loss of control
- a lot of content not created by publishers
- expensive, new technologies
- loss of proprietary gateways to content
- large new players with enormous network advantages

Alexander Street's response: create the best product in a discipline
need to behave in a way that advances the following:
- seek out areas that are currently ill-served
- research, find, link, and license the best content from all possible sources
- find previously unpublished materials
- license and co-publish archives, authors, and publishers
- provide outstanding functionality through indexing and technology

noted Dialog was put out of business by its business model, not by technology

- don't compete or duplicate; they'll link to any website and will help you publish something
- add real value; don't see themselves as owning spaces; they are part of the community
- want to be fast
- want to be efficient

aggregating disciplines and creating the best collection they can in these niches
- e.g., history, performing arts, literature, women's history, music, sociology, religion, black studies, psychology
focus on niches and deliver exceptional value

first person narratives as a new way of looking at history
- contemporaneous
- diverse
- personal
- multiple viewpoints (more from women, etc.)
- stamped in place and time (parallel versions of history)

building a parallel historical universe to complete newspaper archives
not trying to do it uniquely - part of the community of reviews, music, films, google, etc.
==> free database at
added semantic indexing for value
try to organize results better

music - "Music Online" portal

develop specific expertises to focus in an area
deliver a level of value
database of streaming music plus scores, all searchable from one place
offer playlists and now have thousands of academic professional creating thousands of playlists; academics will be able to publish their playlists
tag cloud coming!
don't want to perpetrate silos as more and more use will come from outside of their interface

need to translate all of this to their video products

wants to stress that by actively publishing in a particular discipline, they can stay ahead of the other fish swimming around

looking at local archives of music - pilot program this fall, looking for partners to test the service
- looking for material that has been produced locally or where copyright has been secured


- cultural shifts in the way we do and think about things; how do you make that happen? what do you think is critical for us to do to facilitate those types of shifts
- Frank: libraries have to solve for access the same way publishers do; need to be accessible the way Wikipedia is
- Christopher: the will is there in some quarters (including some lofy corners like presidents and provosts), but need a top-down and bottom-up approach to get over the hump

- publishers take a great deal of pride in what they produce, but end users are much less interested in knowing the publisher in the discovery phase; how do you allow us to get over the hurdle of the silos of your own publications?
- Frank: convince them to sell us their companies :-p ; as a publishing community, we need to make a decision to make our content discoverable and accessible on Google where you can search and get snippets; then it becomes up to the publishers what kinds of licensing agreements they want to have with libraries
- Christopher: don't you think that's already happening with SDI?
- Stephen: certain basic behaviors that make content discoverable and certain ones that don't (such as pages without permanent URLs, no authenticity or context for some collections, etc.), both are propagated by libraries and publishers

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