KB+ Community Advisory Group Meeting – 11th February 2013

We were recently invited to attend the KB+ Community Advisory Group meeting to present an update on the findings and outcomes of the HIKE project. The meeting opened with an update from Liam Earney on the KB+ project about the new features of the recent release before moving on to discuss the international interest; the subscription and sustainability of KB+: and finally the transfer of data between KB+ and third parties.

New features of the recent release

The main focus of the recent release was on improving the experience of the end user. A major development was with the permissions and roles which allows the subscribing organisation to limit the rights available to each user and to hide licences from the community or to make them public. Huddersfield felt that this development would be particularly useful as it is envisaged that two groups of staff would use KB+: the Librarians for enquiry purposes, who could be given ‘Read-only’ access, and the Electronic Resources team, who with the role of ‘Editor’, could have access to the data and be able to amend and add necessary information.

They have also added more information to the individual journal titles. Rather than only being given a host link, as in previous releases, it is now possible to drill down and find out information relating to that title such as the format of the core title, other packages the title is included in and the TIPP. The main feature of this release was the renewals function which aims to facilitate the renewals process undertaken yearly by the Journals team (for more information on this please see our previous blog post ‘KB+ and the renewals process‘).

Liam then moved on to say that the next development phase would be between March and August which will form the base of the next release.

International Interest

The KB+ project has recently received a lot of interest from International parties such as France, Germany, Japan, Sweden, USA, China and Canada. Although up until now the team have been unable to follow up on this interest  as they have had a tight timescale and they did not have anything substantial to offer the interested parties, they recently met up to initiate a possible collaboration. After establishing their shared interests, predominantly the hope that a combined effort to improve the quality of data from the publishers would yield some results, the team agreed to demo KB+ for the interested parties and to perform an audit of those interested before starting to share data.

Subscription and sustainability of KB+

Liam announced that it is probable that from the 1st August KB+ will be a subscription-based resource, whose pricing will be based on JISC bandings. Therefore during the next couple of months the team will be visiting institutions who are engaging with KB+ to ensure that they are comfortable with the product. JISC Collections are currently offering a 20% discount to those institutions who sign up before the end of May and a 10% discount to those who sign before the end of July. A member of the group raised the question of what would happen to the data of those institutions which had populated the resource while it was free but were now unable to afford the subscription. Liam confirmed that the team would be happy to support the extraction of the data and for the account to remain dormant with the data still there in case the institution at some point wanted to return to KB+.

The discussion then moved on to how to make KB+ more attractive to those using the resource and thus more sustainable. This section of the meeting agenda was predominantly focused on the community aspect of the resource which was one of the attractions of KB+ for many members of the group. It was felt that it was beneficial to be able to share concerns and issues, and be provided with feedback, from others working with electronic resources in a HE environment. While such a service is currently provided for by several mailing lists it was agreed that one forum for all electronic resources people would be useful.

The discussion then moved on to discuss the possible expansion of KB+ to include e-books. While it was agreed that this would be a beneficial area of development a number of points for consideration by the KB+ team were raised such as: the format of the data, the content of the data, the co-operation of the vendors, the issue of multiple editions, the different platforms, etc.

Transfer of data

This then led onto a discussion about the transfer of data between the different systems: namely KB+ and the institution’s knowledgebase from either Serial Solutions or ExLibris. KB+ currently supplies both Serial Solutions and ExLibris with it generic licence and subscription data which is then loaded on to their knowledgebase. Local changes enacted in KB+ can then be made again on the Serial Solutions and ExLibris knowledgebase so that they match. This means it is necessary to perform all the local changes such as the identification of core titles, date range available, etc twice which is a duplication of work and increases the risk of error. Ideally we would like to be able to enact the local changes in KB+ and then for the vendors to take the data from KB+ and do a global update of each institutions knowledgebase. However it was acknowledged that there were often delays in the knowledgebase being updated, therefore it was proposed that it would be desirable for us to make local changes in KB+, export the data and use this to populate the knowledgebase supplied by the vendors ourselves, but that we would still be able to accept the global update when it occurs by the vendor.