Brainstorming Topic: The NASIG name, vision, and mission

The topic of the 2011 NASIG Brainstorming session was “The NASIG name, vision, and mission.”  A lot of great ideas came up during that meeting, and I’m including notes from that session below.  The Board wanted to start a discussion on the list in case folks weren’t at that meeting and/or had additional thoughts to share. 

So…please think and share!

Carol Ann

BRAINSTORMING TOPIC:  The NASIG name, vision, and mission
Session facilitated by:  June Garner

During the 2010 brainstorming session, there was some brief discussion of the NASIG name, and whether we should think about altering or changing it. This is something that the executive board has discussed over the last several years. That topic seems to lead into something that came up during last year’s contingency planning session, and that is whether or not NASIG needs to re-define our vision and mission statements.

Garner called for a show of hands for academic, special librarians, and vendors.  The majority of the group were academic librarians. She showed the tag cloud from the two-word exercise where members offered the two words they would like to use to describe NASIG.

Do we want to change our name?  Do we want to revamp our vision and mission statement?  What direction do we want to take?  More focus on continuing education?

  • Several comments about the strength of the NASIG brand.  People know what it is.
  • It’s all about branding and NASIG has a brand.  To change name could be detrimental to us unless we have EXTREMELY strong marketing behind that.  As an all-volunteer organization, that would be difficult to achieve. Likes what UKSG did and maybe NASIG could follow in pattern of our “big sister.”  It worked for AT&T and OCLC. Several people agreed.
  • Take electronic resources into our scope.  “ER” is in sERials.  Community is a big and important part of what we are. 
  • NASIG objectives:  nothing about consortia, but a lot of us are members of at least one.  Bring continuing education to the forefront, including education of provosts, other constituents.
  • Develop a focus in the annual conference that would appeal to those on the periphery of serials issues.
  • Question about wisdom of broadening our mission.  
  • There has been concern in the past about our focus on North America.
  • Few “Serials Librarians” anymore.  Many of those are now paraprofessional positions.  Deans don’t view this organization as still being relevant.
  • NASIG is educating those who interact with serials, administration, all kinds of staff.
  • Serials are now e-resources, collection development, the whole thing.  What does “serials” mean to us versus what it means to others?
  • As a cataloger, doing reports, batch loads—more database maintenance, but still dealing with print.  Still need print in mission as well as electronic.
  • Is this organization still relevant in the professional field?  Sponsorships say we are.  If print is such a small portion of budget, why do libraries continue to put so much time into it in terms of staff?  This is the most fun you’ll ever have learning a hell of a lot. 
  • It’s a concern that attendance is now half of what it was 10 years ago.  We’re almost getting too small for hotels now.  Cost of attendance and speaker benefits need to be examined.  Some perceive us as a fairly expensive conference.
  • There are a lot more conferences now and a lot less money for institutions to send people.
  • Serials has an old-fashioned ring; is journals a better word to use?  Use webinars to spread continuing education efforts more broadly.  Preaching to those for whom serials is a foreign world.  Systems people and data manipulators don’t understand serials issues.  Emphasize tracks more. 
  • Conference is a pretty good deal for what we get.  Educate people more about everything that is involved in serials—electronic, microfilm, paper, etc.
  • Summary:  Keep the NASIG brand.  Update vision and mission.  Educate others about serials, not just serials people.
  • Broadcast conference programming.
  • We don’t really know why people aren’t coming who used to be coming.  Poll people who used to be members and/or attendees to see why they left.
  • Maybe a tagline instead of spelling out NASIG.
  • Possible slogans up on screen: 
    o NASIG:  80% of your materials budget [mostly tongue in cheek]
    o NASIG:  Redefining serials
    o NASIG:  Theoretical foundation; pragmatic problem-solving [a later idea was:  Theoretical foundation; pragmatic solutions.]
  • This conference is the best value for the money, has the most relevant programming.
  • It’s not the word “serials” that’s problematic; it’s the word “interest group” that makes us sound minor.
  • Mark Lane (the consultant from the contingency planning session) had suggested we come up with 2 words to describe NASIG and use it in all of our marketing.
  • Continuing education—the board is discussing getting more continuing education this year, including webinars.
  • The Board has discussed the possibility of making sessions here available somewhere on the web.
  • Many library schools don’t mention serials at all, mostly an afterthought.  Continue outreach to library schools.  Suggested tagline:  NASIG:  It’s not just magazines anymore.
  • Why don’t we do a joint conference with ER&L?
  • Best RDA webinars she has heard have come from people with a serials background.  We should fill that hole with webinars.
  • 80% of Library materials budgets, not just materials budgets.

Carol Ann Borchert, MLS, MA
Coordinator for Serials
University of South Florida Libraries
4202 E. Fowler Ave. LIB 122
Tampa, FL 33620-5400
(813) 974-3901
fax: (813) 974-2296

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