The XXX Charleston Conference wound down and sadly, I must return the iPad and Kindle to our main office next week. The iPad proved to be a terrific conversation starter; I would say that I saw only 10 or so people with them. Most people were taking notes by hand, also surprising. The number of laptops in use was higher than iPads and Smartphones, but most people were writing in long hand. When I asked a few folks about it, the reason was cost. More vendors and university press people had devices, most librarians had notepads. Totally fits in with the rampant budget cuts libraries are facing, I imagine. The Kindle experiment will have to be for another day; I think I would like it for air travel, and perhaps reading in bed; however, this trip was too packed with work and I didn’t have time for leisurely reading.
Friday’s COUNTER forum, featuring an ex-MPSTechnologies employee, David Sommer (now consultant to publishing and vendor communities, incoming Chair of COUNTER, and great guy to share a beer with), was near to my heart, as MPS recently completed a survey about COUNTER stats with the library community. This forum focused on the history of COUNTER and the challenges going forward: mobile is an issue; how to count user stats on devices, as more people use them; and “per-article” or “per-chapter” effective counts. Since an overall theme of this conference was the need for libraries to buy fewer full journals and books and move toward the patron-driven, pay-per-view models, how will COUNTER…count? They have created PIRUS, which will provide a common standard for measuring online usage of individual articles. Check out http://www.projectcounter.org for more info.
The last forum I attended was with Dr. Frances Pinter, currently publisher of Bloomsbury Academic. She was calling on libraries worldwide to form consortia that buy and share books, whether hard copy or print. She believed in open source access and that can be achieved only if the cost to purchase books would be spread among thousands of libraries. She didn’t think publishers would be open to slashing their prices just to help cash-strapped libraries.
On the way home, I pulled off the side of the road to watch 23 vultures “remove” a deer that had been killed in the road. Fascinating birds. They are my favorite for sure; I love them because they clean up messes. I got out of the car and had them swooping overhead, some only a few feet above me. I’ve also developed a weird superstition involving vultures. For each one I spot on the way to or from a visit with a new customer, one vulture = $10,000 in sales. So, I figure my contacts from the Charleston conference will garner $230,000.00! Were it that easy…
Cheers from Charleston. Rose