At the British Library today there was a UKRR Consultation meeting. I wasn’t at the previous consultation meeting last year, but by all accounts it provoked heated discussion. Today’s meeting seemed quite calm.
I should probably declare an interest in that the UKRR project is based at Imperial, and Deborah Shorley (my boss) is the Project Leader.
UKRR is described at http://www.curl.ac.uk/projects/CollaborativeStorage/About.htm, but in summary it is an attempt to coordinate use of collaborative storage/retention of research material (focusing on journals) across UKHE. The project has two phases, Phase 1 is to develop a prototype UKRR with 6 ‘early adopters’, Phase 2 is intended to open participation up to all research libraries wishing to participate.
The meeting started with an introduction from Deborah, followed by presentations from various participants in the ‘Phase 1′ project, which comes to an end later this year. UKRR is now in the process of making bid for second phase to HEFCE for c.£7m.
Jon Purcell – Director of Library Services, St Andrews
The first presentation was from St Andrews, who have been part of the ‘Phase 1′ project.
St Andrews went for easy wins – Science and Medicine journals, rather than Arts; Abstracts and Indexes etc. Some ‘academic angst’ – tended to be specific individuals, although also some departments. Jon noted that this ‘angst’ should not to be underestimated by those looking to be part of UKRR what I think he termed ‘Collaborative Managed Retention’, and that open dialogue with those concerned helped. However, process took longer and more staff intensive and expensive than expected. Checking process took much longer due to poor records in St Andrews catalogue as well as SunCat.
Good things about UKRR:
- Allows open discussions of issues – not a library secret
- Advocacy Toolkit enormously helpful
- Embedded collaborative storage into SCURL – a new lease of life for CASS (Scottish Collaborative store)
- St Andrews academics ‘trust’ the British Library
- Allowed discussion of ‘Access’ vs ‘Holdings’
Things to remember:
- St Andrews have no option – completely full, no store
- Trusted digital repositories
- In perpetuity access
- Russell Group Libraries involved – involvement makes scheme credible
St Andrews will be joining UKRR:
- Expediency and necessity
- Reaping the benefits of de-duplication
- Initial financial projections OK
- In St Andrews interests to preserve Document Supply service
- Gives opportunity of partnership with BL [rather than just customer]
- Things are changing – difficult to predict where we will be in 5 years time, but St Andrews sees UKRR as part of the picture
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it”
UKRR Funding Bid and Business Model Update – Mat Pfleger (Head of Sales and Marketing, BL)
Three main areas of the UKRR model:
- Access (a.k.a. Document Supply)
- Collaborative Collection Management (a.k.a. De-duplication)
In terms of costs to UKHE Institutions, there are two parts:
- Cost of on going Access/Document Supply
- Cost of joint storage at BL
These are separate costs, and are dealt with separately below. I think it is important to draw a distinction between the Document Supply issues and the UKRR Subscription, these are not explicitly linked. The BL is committed to running its Document Supply on a cost recovery basis – this will happen no matter what the progress with UKRR. What the BL is doing is looking at offering some enhanced terms of service to UKRR members (e.g. 24 hour turnaround on requests) Proposed new model:
- Remodelled following significant feedback
- Represents a more balanced bid (than the previous proposals)
- Great chance of success (?)
- Accessible Solution
Document Supply Current Position:
- Demand has dropped from 3.8 items p.a. and is now 1.6m items p.a. since 2001
- However, Infrastructure costs remain
- Some cost reductions and efficiencies have been made, but still operating below cost recovery to UKHE
- BL has to try to move to full cost recovery in the next 2 years
The BL would need to increase prices by 30/35% (articles/loans) to get to a cost recovery model The BL Board has now approved a 10/12% increase for supply to UKHE from August 2008 – but this is just a stepping stone Options:
- Continue with transactional model
- Move to subscription model
BL models suggest that subscription model will result in smaller price increases (8-18% vs 28-34%). Suggestion for subs model is that there would be options to subscribe at different ‘volumes’ depending on number requests you expect to make – but each year you can change as appropriate. BL will be running focus groups around current proposals. Earliest possible date for moving to subscription model would be August 2009.
Proposed that UKHE contribution should cover c.20% of storage costs (of total £1.3m) – substantial drop from previous models. Annual fee for storage would depend on JISC Bands, and would be a 5 year committment. This would be additional to proposed base subscription or transactional access for document supply services. The proposed costs were given as:
|JISC Band||Annual Fee||5 Year Committment|
N.B. There was a Q&A around these ‘JISC Bands’ (see below) that established these don’t refer directly to the usual JISC Bands that run from A-K, but rather a simplified banding system (similar to that being adopted by EThOS)
In Phase 1 UKRR has been able to establish some costs for de-duplication – £26.16 per meter for an HEI (also a BL cost) – and this is the amount that would be (on average) available to an HEI taking part in UKRR. For universities taking advantage of UKRR Subscription would be get a one off cash benefit for enabling deduplication, but also would clearly make ongoing savings in terms of space – UKRR has put costings against this, and suggest substantial savings would be made based on cost of space. If the UKRR is to be sustainable, costs of store need to be met – and the more members of UKRR the more secure its future. If UKRR Phase 2 does not go ahead, then there will be a piecemeal approach, which is less likely to result in a long term sustainable approach.
Jean Sykes – LSE
- Strength of Print collection is a key part of LSE library – attracts external users and funding
- No immediate space problem (although will be by 2015)
- Have put themselves forward as a reserve copy holder
- No library can provide for all researchers’ need
- Vision is compelling
- Collaborative approach + funds for disposal
- Every library/university needs UKRR to deliver good service to its researchers
LSE groups and committees have discussed UKRR. A library group is drafting disposal criteria for academic approval LSE is intending to take part in UKRR phase 2
There was a long period available for Q&A and comments, and the below represents my attempts to capture. If you asked or answered a question and have any corrections, please leave a comment on this post, and I’ll make corrections. I haven’t captured the full discussion, but I think I’ve got the key points.
Q: Is anyone looking at Arts and Humanities material?
A: Yes – not so much, but Southampton
, Birmingham (the latter looking at very very low use material that isn’t on open shelves). Possibly finding that serials are less controversial than monographs in Arts and Humanities.
The overall response to this question is that the opposition to disposal is not as problematic as we might fear. Although it does take effort, it is also ‘doable’. Several anecdotes indicating that resistance can be overcome and move to alternative models of journal access is not as difficult to achieve as you might expect – often resistance comes from very specific departments or even specific academics. Also a few anecdotes indicating that you need to know where you aren’t going to win, and pursue other areas.
Q: Do de-duplication funds apply over mutliple copies?
A: Yes – e.g. Imperial Medical libraries
Q: How would Doc Supply subscription model apply to organisations with mutliple Doc Supply accounts (question from Cambridge that manages Doc Supply at a collegiate level as well as University library)?
A: No assumptions from BL that Cambridge would have to have a single account.
Q: New model looks very much more affordable than previously. When is phase 2 expected to start, and how can libraries sign-up to take part?
A: Phase 1 now extended to the end of August 2008. Surplus funding from phase 1 to be used to bring in some extra partnerts. Expecting to bid for phase 2 by end of March 2008, and expect to hear the outcome in September 2008. Post Easter 2008 there will be a call to institutions to indicate their interest in signing up to phase 2.
Q: Is de-duplication cost fixed, or amount against which you bid?
A: Costs given in presentations are averages, you get back the actual cost of de-duplication, not a fixed amount. However, overall the fund is fixed, based on expectations of the amount of de-duplication across the sector by UKRR project. Several institutions indicating their interest in signing up to phase 2. Also appreciation from the floor of the current model, and the transparency of the current proposals.
Q: How do we know where the reserve copies are?
A: In phase 1 not possible to build necessary systems to support this kind of information sharing (currently just on spreadsheets). There is now a bid to HEFCE shared services for a feasibility study to see what would be required in terms of systems to help manage this information. Feasibility study due to deliver end March 2008. Phase 1 has shown how sketchy journal holdings often are, and the need for much more detailed holdings information – down to volume/issue level.
Q: Is there any question of looking at monographs?
A: There is clearly a need to look at monographs, but at the moment journals is where UKRR is focussing, and no suggestion/timescale for monographs – and hope that many lessons learnt from dealing with journals will help inform future discussions around monographs.
Q: When will we know if bid to HEFCE has been successful?
A: Should know by July
Q: Does UKRR include Abstracts and Indexes?
Q: Call for expression of interest in joining end of Phase 1 mentions standards, including environmental issues and bibliographic issues?
A: Disposal under UKRR requires material to be shredded and recycled – so you have to use a company that can show they are capable of doing this. For bibliographic information, you have to have enough information to be able to identify and match journals (e.g. ISSN as well as Title). To join Phase 1, UKRR are looking for libraries who are ready to go – already having titles, already had discussions with academics etc.
Q: Is there a danger that the infrastructure is not in place for phase 2, and will never catch-up?
A: BL has some plans in place for a system to help manage information integrated into their existing systems – 6 month build period. Phase 2 will be ‘phased’ so, not everything all at once. Once the feasibility study around the system is finished in March, then the picture should be clearer.
Q: Phase 2 has £6m going into ‘system improvement’ (50% from HEFCE, 50% from BL) – what is this going to deliver?
A: Improvements to Doc Delivery systems – which would not happen without this project. This will improve delivery times (24 hours) and allow a number of smaller benefits (e.g. branding of doc supply for institutions). However, the main aime is making infrastructure sustainable. Timeline – 2 year program, working with BL Technical team – looking for a project plan that delivers early benefits in this 2 year program.
Q: What processes are in place to decide whether the BL moves forward with a subscription or transactional model?
A: BL looking to setup focus groups across all customers (not just UKHE or UKRR) for consultation on models proposed in todays presentation. Look to implement a cost recovery model (whether sub or transactional) by August 2009.
Q: There was a lack of clarity regarding costings in regard to costing groups (the presentation refers to ‘JISC Bandings’ but then only refers to ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’). Can this be clarified? [I think there was some confusion between the UKRR subscription model and the proposed document supply subscription model]
A: The UKRR subscription model in the presentation today described 3 levels referred to as ‘JISC Bands’ and labelled A, B and C. This is meant to be a simplification along the lines of EThOS rather than the JISC Bands A-K used in other areas. BL thinking about the subscription model suggests that there are about 15 ‘volume’ groups represented across their customers, but they would like to reduce this in terms of subscriptions groups/bands – but until they have done a proper consultation they cannot say if this is possible. The BL will hope to complete their consultation by July 2008.
Q: If we take part in Phase 1, will we have to subscribe to UKRR to get access to deduplication funds?
Q: If we take part in Phase 2, do we have to subscribe to UKRR to get access to deduplication funds?
Q: If we join UKRR are we restricted in what we can dispose of?
A: Only where you have agreed to keep titles. The point of UKRR is to allow coordination of our effort. When titles are being held by only a few members UKRR would put out a call for members who will hold the reserve copy. Even where you have agreed to keep the reserve copy then there is the possibility of bringing this back and UKRR will look for an alternative site to take this responsibility.
Closing words: UKRR is for researchers in the UK, not for the libraries. We need to take a broad collaborative view. Digitisation is not an option for entire print legacy – it may not be a problem for ever, but not a practical option over reasonable timescales. Although we cannot predict the future, we have to do something, and this is a good shot!
N.B. Jean Crawford will take over as UKRR Project Manager from Nicola Wright in March 2008.
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