Back in Semester 1, 2012 I was able to attend the QUT Library Resource Services Open Day as part of my professional development. This occurred because I was working as a Collection Access Assistant at QUT’s Garden Point library. I learnt many interesting things at this open day and it helped me grow as an information professional.
The day started out with an introduction to the LRS team and a tour of their work place. It was quite large with over a dozen people working in this department. The difference between a monograph and serial were explained as well as the new work structure based around merging the two teams that used to deal exclusively with one or the other. It was interesting to note that now all the team members were training so that they could deal with both monographs and serials making their team more efficient especially when someone maybe away. They are in charge of the actual ordering, after it has been approved, and with the labelling of the resources. Their work is very busy and constant with a large pile of boxes containing new resources that need to be labelled and catalogued on their large conveyor belt.
I also learnt a lot about the resource librarians and what they do. They deal with the cataloguing of resources especially the hard ones such as kits. They are also responsible for loading records onto the library catalogue for databases including journal titles, e-books and serials. It was interesting to learn about EBI in relation to e-books and when they are rented or purchased. The criterion for QUT is that the first three times a student loans an e-book that is rented at fee is charged to QUT. On the forth loan the book is purchased as it has met the criteria of being current and useful within the QUT collection. The resource librarians get a lot of their updates from Library Australia and do record loads once a month. In turn they also send new records through to Library Australia when they update a record themselves. Most of the time the resource librarians cannot directly change the records that appear on the QUT catalogue and it has to go through Library Australia. I also learnt that they deal with the video streams in the catalogue too. It was interesting to learn that though the university purchases these videos they still have to pay viewing fees.
The other main aspect of the LRS that I learnt about was the life of an e-resource. They defined e-resources as something that is available online or in a digital format such as a journal, database, e-book, webpage or an online streaming video. They advised that the life of an e-resource started with a new order requested by a liaison librarian to information resources committee. They then contact the vendor and the licence is discussed. This seemed the most complex part as the licence needs to be negotiated for the right terms and conditions. The most important clauses that they negotiate on are confidentiality of price and no harm will come to the publisher. The order is put into millennium where it can be tracked. The next step of the lifecycle is renewal and evaluation. According to LRS orders over $1,000 are reviewed every two years by the information resource committee and orders under $1,000 are reviewed by the LRS team. Mature order comes next in the e-resources life and this involves any changes to the order such as a title change. After this the resource becomes an ageing order where it doesn’t get as much use and the librarians need to establish whether this resource is still relevant to the collection. If it is not relevant the order is cancelled and this can be done in one of two ways – perpetual order whereby all subscriptions up until the cancellation are kept or an unperpetual order whereby all of the holdings are removed. The latter order seems very harsh to me and would make me do my research very hard as to whether the order really needs to be cancelled.
The other interesting thing I learnt at the LRS open day was about e-books. There are three ways in which they can be ordered according to QUT LRS team. These are the patron driven model, individuals select and purchase and the purchase or an individual title or collection. The e-books in the library collection are evaluated each year.
Overall my time at the Learning Resource and Services open day was very informative. I had no idea how much time and effort it tool to create and maintain a large academic library’s collection such as QUT’s. All their work was very interesting and I wonder how they each fell into their roles at QUT. They were a comfortable team and obviously work well together to get through their intense workloads. Going to this open day has helped me grow as an information professional as I have had my eyes opened to all the behind the scenes jobs that take part in the library with regards to cataloguing and ordering. Also it has let me see the application of what I have learnt in my studies so far such as collection management especially regarding e-resources.
Go back to Part C: Professional Development Activities