#critlib 2018-03-19: vendor relations

Archive of the March 19 2018 #critlib chat on vendor relations, moderated by @greenarchives1 @_cageorge & @gngrlibrarian. For more info about #critlib, including past and future chats, visit http://critlib.org.

  1. Monday's #critlib chat will be about vendor relations, discussing ethical considerations in the relationships between library workers, library organizations, & vendors. Suggested resources & questions at  http://critlib.org/vendor-relations/ β€¦.
  2. Thanks to the group of law librarians who were interested in discussing this topic after last December's discussion of LexisNexis signing on to help build ICE’s Extreme Vetting surveillance system. #critlib
  3. Please check out the suggested readings to refresh your memory on the controversy, especially after a post critical of LexisNexis was censored from an American Association of Law Libraries blog.  http://critlib.org/vendor-relations/ β€¦ #critlib
  4. Should be an interesting #critlib chat for any library worker who works with vendor products (all of us!). I'd like to specifically invite vendor employees to participate the chat if they feel comfortable doing so. Anonymous tweeting will be available at  http://tinyurl.com/anoncritlib .
  5. Looking forward to another README-relevant #critlib chat, this one on "vendor relations" with @greenarchives1 @_cageorge @gngrlibrarian on Monday, March 19  http://critlib.org/vendor-relations β€¦
  6. #critlib We're starting the discussion about vendor relations. Please introduce yourself: MONDAY 11 am Pacific / noon Mountain / 1 pm Central / 2 pm Eastern #critlib about ethical vendor relationships moderated by @greenarchives1 @_cageorge @gngrlibrarian
  7. If you would prefer to tweet anonymously during the #critlib chat, you can use the critlib anonymous Twitter relay:  http://tinyurl.com/anoncritlib  . Type your comments, and hit β€œTweet”. You'll see your tweet posted via the @CritLib_anon account.
  8. Christine George. I'm a Faculty & Scholarly Services Librarian #critlib
  9. Hi all! Ashley, academic law library associate director in Florida. #critlib
  10. @gngrlibrarian @greenarchives1 @_cageorge Jen Hoyer, public librarian and community archivist who spent three years on the vendor side of things. Watching this #critlib chat while prepping a lesson on how to use primary sources...
  11. Elizabeth Dill, academic library director at Troy University. #critlib
  12. Q1. What obligations do vendors have to end-users of their products? What obligations do vendors have to library workers? #critlib
  13. Hi, all. Here's the first question: What obligations do vendors have to end-users of their products? What obligations do vendors have to library workers? #critlib
  14. Follow up question: Do you think that the same ethical code that applies to library professionals should apply to the products that libraries use? #critlib
  15. A1. We're ALL responsible for transparency, vendors and librarians alike. All deserve to know what data is being kept and where it's going. We have an obligation to be honest with our users. #critlib  https://twitter.com/greenarchives1/status/975799310741917696 β€¦
  16. #critlib A1: I'm not sure that they have any obligations to end users or library users. The vendors are proprietary and want to maximize profits. They likely have an obligation to shareholders. This creates a conflict for librarians who are concerned with ethics.
  17. A1 I'd like to believe that the same code should apply--particularly since some of the vendors have library backgrounds, but that doesn't seem to be how it actually plays out. #critlib
  18. @greenarchives1 At the very least: transparency. And compliance with FERPA in an academic setting. Ideally: we have a choice to not use vendors who don't live up to professional values. #critlib
  19. @AKrenelkaChase I agree, but it's difficult to be honest with the users when it seems like vendors are trying to keep information from library professionals. #critlib
  20. @gngrlibrarian But does being proprietary mean that we don't have the right to know where our information goes? #critlib
  21. #critlib A1 follow up: In law libraries, we are bound by the license agreements that we sign with the major legal database vendors. We are often required to provide parity in teaching content. Without regard to vendor ethics.
  22. Ex: I was told by 1 vendor rep they don't keep student usage data. Her boss told me they do. I think we're entitled to know the truth and so are our students. #critlib
  23. @megwacha Agreed! I think that, while many vendors are concerned with maximizing profit, that doesn't have to be a conflict with libraries if libraries expert the power they have in their wallets and will only let the vendor MAKE profits if they provide what libraries demand. #critlib
  24. @gngrlibrarian This is so hard since we *should* be teaching skills, not databases. But since we have to teach to the platform the parity puts us in an impossible position. #critlib
  25. Q2. What obligations do library workers have regarding ethical considerations in their relationships with vendors? (as information/product gatekeepers? as people who maximize access to information and rely on vendors to those ends?) #critlib
  26. Here's Q2 - What obligations do library workers have regarding ethical considerations in their relationships with vendors? (as information/product gatekeepers? as people who maximize access to information and rely on vendors to those ends?) #critlib
  27. #critlib The power dynamic is off. We saw this with the LexisNexis ICE issue and our professional association. How can we uphold our ethical standards when we have no protection. Is any law library willing to forego the major legal databases?
  28. @AKrenelkaChase @gngrlibrarian We have whatever rights we are willing to negotiate and are able to get into a vendor licensing agreement. #critlib
  29. @AKrenelkaChase I'd have to agree that some vendors can be disastrous at managing user data; I'd love to see the librarians who sign the checks demand more on that end, and torecognize that they have a lot of power to make change if they work together on asking for better from vendors. #critlib
  30. Of course, I'd prefer to see us move away from vendors entirely and towards building something together. #critlib
  31. @nora_almeida @gngrlibrarian Agreed. And being able to walk away is key. But what if we aren't in a position to walk away? #critlib
  32. @jenhoyer @megwacha The issue with that, though, is if the libraries have enough power. @gngrlibrarian brought up a good point about forced parity in law libraries. There's not enough power to negotiate. #critlib
  33. A2. I think we can tell our patrons what we know about vendor privacy policies, algorithms, etc. I don't "teach databases" and I'll tell anyone who wants to listen about the publishers I wont work with. #critlib
  34. @gngrlibrarian Forgoing traditional legal databases leaves our students unprepared for practice, yet the available options are problematic. It illustrates the dangers of allowing information that should be free to be controlled by for-profit vendors. We're boxed in. #critlib
  35. #critlib Does anyone have an example of a librarian standing up to a vendor over ethical issues and it turning out well?
  36. @AKrenelkaChase @gngrlibrarian @nora_almeida We know the answer when it comes to the profession. With the institution, it's hard to guess because of silos. Would anyone outside of the library have enough info to want to take a stand? #critlib
  37. @gngrlibrarian It's something an individual librarian can do, but it will have more power if multiple libraries do it together. #critlib
  38. @_cageorge @AKrenelkaChase @gngrlibrarian @nora_almeida Some institutions have started including faculty and admins in the negotiation process, so they can see what the libraries cannot share. #critlib
  39. @greenarchives1 A2: library workers shouldn't kill the transparency vendors DO offer! When I worked for a vendor that was recognized for its transparent pricing, I was asked by a library worker (purchaser) to give him the kind of not-transparent deal other vendors do. Not not okay. #critlib
  40. A2. Again, I think it goes back to transparency. I always try to tell our users if I know information is being tracked but, in cases where I can't even get that information from a vendor, it's hard to stay on the up-and-up #critlib
  41. @AKrenelkaChase @gngrlibrarian Was this even much of an issue previously? It seems to be a recent development to push back at the vendors. #critlib
  42. @megwacha @AKrenelkaChase @gngrlibrarian @nora_almeida I think that's a really important step to making some progress. It can't just be seen as a librarian issue. #critlib
  43. @gngrlibrarian I think we also need to consider institutional constraints. The insulating bureaucracy of the procurement process limits our capacity for autonomy even if we're willing to take a stand. Systemic change is the only answer which means working together. #critlib
  44. @nora_almeida @AKrenelkaChase @gngrlibrarian Definitely! And, we have more power if institutions work together. So, so much power. To be honest, I think that the libraries with the biggest budgets actually have a responsibility to lead the way on this. #Critlib
  45. @megwacha @_cageorge @AKrenelkaChase @nora_almeida That's interesting. Maybe that's what we need to do. Get our administration to take notice and be more involved in contract negotiations. #critlib
  46. Hi #critlib colleagues, I'm Mark and I'm the Scholarly Communications Librarian at Case Western Reserve University. Good topic today!
  47. @jenhoyer @AKrenelkaChase @gngrlibrarian Can't say enough about the power of the consortia too. Even underfunded librarians have a lot of muscle if they stick together. #critlib
  48. @_cageorge @gngrlibrarian When we had all the money in the world I think the perception was there was no need to push back. But we no longer live in that world. #critlib
  49. @_cageorge @AKrenelkaChase @gngrlibrarian I think this may be in part because the nature of information vendors has changed dramatically, moving from curated collections of content to this model where huge data mills are buying up and aggregating the curated collections to become mega-vendors. #critlib
  50. I agree. I don't have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times a vendor has said to me "well this isn't an issue for X, Y, or Z library" that I know has a largely-endowed and well-funded budget. #critlib  https://twitter.com/jenhoyer/status/975803787620306945 β€¦
  51. Q3. What obligations do professional organizations have in maintaining ethical relations with vendors? #critlib
  52. Here's Q3) Q3. What obligations do professional organizations have in maintaining ethical relations with vendors? #critlib
  53. @greenarchives1 @AKrenelkaChase @gngrlibrarian It's a terrifying thought. Just think about the info vendors can gather from the searches done...as well as dictate the results from searches. Going down that rabbit hole, you could see the legal system turned on its head. #critlib
  54. A1 Vendors have whatever obligations we push them to accept when we negotiate content licenses. We can try to ensure a few things, e.g that they don't infringe users' privacy when collecting data; that we aren't pushed to be in a policing role w/ respect to their privacy #critlib
  55. Q3 They've got to keep the vendors honest. Professional organizations are the best hope to organize libraries #critlib
  56. #critlib With the LexisNexis / ICE blog post, one of the reasons it had to be taken down was antitrust concerns. Some read it as a call to action against Lexis and feared the lawsuits that may arise. I haven't looked into the validity of that claim, but fear of lawsuits is real.
  57. @greenarchives1 A3. Professional organizations are responsible for upholding professional values and should be beholden to their members. I would support my prof. orgs more if they would actually take a stand on issues I care about instead of being corporate apologists. #critlib
  58. @greenarchives1 A3. Our orgs are here for libraries, not for vendors. They should support libraries and librarians and make our relationships with vendors easier. #critlib
  59. @nora_almeida @greenarchives1 I agree. I think that the tendency with professional organizations is to be more conservative for fear of offending members. It's staying bland so as to maintain member numbers. #critlib
  60. @greenarchives1 Professional orgs pay a lot of lip service to wanting what's best for members (including going so far as to rebrand the entire organization, in some cases) but fall short when it comes to standing up for the libraries, themselves. #critlib
  61. A3: I think professional library organizations should be allies, and should uphold their ethical standards, especially where vendors are involved. #critlib
  62. @greenarchives1 A3: One issue is that sometimes our professional orgs represent libraries, and sometimes library workers. As libraries have shifted towards (sometimes) identifying themselves as corporations, the orgs that represent them may have shifted towards corporate-like interests. #critlib
  63. #critlib A3: The professional associations are so reliant on vendors to support conferences, etc... I've heard them likened to a glorified networking opportunity. And then there's the fear of lawsuits.
  64. Q4. How do we ensure library workers are able to engage in discussion about the ethical use of vendor products? #critlib
  65. Our final #critlib chat question: Q4. How do we ensure library workers are able to engage in discussion about the ethical use of vendor products?
  66. Got to duck out early for ref desk shift. Thanks for chatting! #critlib
  67. @jenhoyer I also wonder about the role of information/data vendors as org sponsors. It seems that orgs depending on vendor sponsorship could complicate solutions to ethical issues. #critlib
  68. A4: This one is tough. Most academic law librarians do not have tenure or any protection at all. It's like a David & Goliath situation. #critlib
  69. @greenarchives1 A4 I think this can sometimes be an issue of the procurement process -- if library workers are cut off from official contract negotation in the procurement process, their voices don't get heard and some issues won't get caught #critlib
  70. @greenarchives1 A4. The obvious answer is contracts or other actual legal protections for speaking out against vendors. *files away as something that isn't going to happen for most of us" #critlib
  71. A4: #critlib This is challenging. It's hard to know what the ramifications of speaking out might be. We saw that speaking out using any "official channels" of our professional organizations was not okay. This means you're effectively out there with no support.  https://twitter.com/greenarchives1/status/975806203287822336 β€¦
  72. A4 Collaborative "negotiation committees" that utilize an org's diverse expertise - subject experts, acquisitions folks, scholcommies, access services - & holistically look at what rights we want in vendor licenses can very useful #critlib
  73. @gngrlibrarian My issue with that is that makes this seem emotional rather than logical. Standing up for ourselves and our libraries isn't something we're doing because of a visceral emotional reaction; it's what's right. #critlib
  74. @DrakeAlyson @gngrlibrarian I think that would make for some fantastic merch...which is definitely not the point #critlib
  75. A4 I think there's an incredible power in dreaming. Let's build the contracts we want to see, independent of the vendor.1/ #critlib
  76. Q3 One good thing that professional orgs have done is to create model licenses - I'm thinking LIBLICENSE from C&RL or the NERL model license #critlib
  77. I completely agree. I just think we have this tendency to see the same "big name" vendors talking about the same things year in and year out. A little diversity in which vendors are presenting would go a long way--and we might actually learn something new. #critlib  https://twitter.com/jenhoyer/status/975807293374726144 β€¦
  78. @DrakeAlyson And the fallout could be against the librarian's institution as well which could lead to informally blacklisting the librarian. #critlib
  79. and then let's talk about why want those things so we can walk into negotiations more prepared. And, at the very least, with more knowledge about what we're signing away 2/2 #critlib
  80. A4 I also think more basic training on license negotiation would be welcomed at our conferences, it's something that a lot of folks just don't know much about & I think we could use more training in the same way we do copyright training #critlib
  81. @megwacha I want to believe that's possible, but I've seen how vendors have offered perks to certain libraries, playing them against each other. I don't think that libraries will be in a position to dictate terms unless there is some radical change. #critlib
  82. @marklclemente This is a wonderfully proactive approach. I haven't seen much on this type of training, and it's definitely needed! #critlib
  83. @DrakeAlyson Even unofficially, it's entirely too possible to be professionally shunned. Most aren't in a position to be able to withstand that. #critlib
  84. @_cageorge @megwacha If the vendor knows those libraries are talking to each other about this -- if they know WE'RE allies for each other -- they'll be less likely to do this. They only try this when they think we're too embarrassed to talk to each other about what we pay for stuff. #critlib
  85. @DrakeAlyson @chsconf always does great stuff in this area, but not many can afford to go every year #critlib
  86. @jenhoyer @_cageorge @megwacha In some cases, I think we're actually precluded from talking about our individual contracts. Smart move vendors. #critlib
  87. Completely agree. If enough of us are having these conversations, especially in platforms with big audiences (like conferences). The question is, would a program on requiring vendor ethics ever actually be allowed to be picked up at a conference? #critlib  https://twitter.com/jenhoyer/status/975809209722920962 β€¦
  88. @jenhoyer @_cageorge @megwacha Actual words from a vendor "I can't confirm that other libraries are doing that because of the NDA, and they shouldn't be talking to you about it either." It's not right, but it's happening. #critlib
  89. Feel free to keep chatting, but thanks so much to today's #critlib moderators @greenarchives1 @_cageorge @gngrlibrarian (and apologies to all for the late start, 100% my fault). Check out upcoming chat dates and/or suggest a chat yourself!  http://critlib.org/twitter-chats/upcoming-twitter-chats/ β€¦
  90. Maybe it's time to start branching out on conferences. #critlib Or start hijacking their speakers and convincing them to come to the national conference.  https://twitter.com/AKrenelkaChase/status/975809437956038657 β€¦
  91. Thanks for an awesome #critlib chat today! Time to head home to see my tiny people. Damn the (vendor) man. Save the (library) empire.
  92. @gngrlibrarian @jenhoyer @_cageorge @megwacha Lots of crappy things appear in vendor licenses but confidentiality clauses should be one of the first to go #critlib
  93. @marklclemente @gngrlibrarian @_cageorge @megwacha I'd guess that, as soon as a big $$$ library governance body passes a "No NDAs in Contracts" clause, the vendors would have to switch this up? I've seen vendors bow to "official policy" in a way they wouldn't bow to plain old demands #critlib