How to Kick the Knowledgebase Blues

February 13, 2019 Matthew Ragucci

Almost all academic libraries use vendor knowledgebases to perform general electronic resource management tasks such as determining entitlement access or augmenting content discovery.

99 knowledgebase problems

These global knowledgebases (or KBs for short) require content providers to provide title lists, (known as KBART files to the uninitiated) to library solutions vendors. Vendors like OCLC, EBSCO, Ex Libris and ProQuest ingest these files and create specific collections, which are made available for librarians to accept as is or customize to match local holdings.

Often, this can be a confusing or frustrating process for librarians.

There is no standard solution when questions arise. There is almost always some level of uncertainty about what is the most appropriate collection, whom to contact for data integrity issues, how to manage pesky transfer titles, or how to customize collections.

Let’s Talk (and Listen) KBs

The NISO KBART Standards Committee and KBART Automation Working Group have made great strides in this area, but the experience is far from uniform between the content provider and vendors. When you multiply these issues for every content provider, an electronic resource librarian’s job can seem impossible.

To address these issues, we are focusing have focused on improving communication with stakeholders to streamline the process. For instance, we recently held recently we decided to hold level-setting calls with all our vendor partners. This helps us better understand our collection representation in vendor KBs and establish workflows around resolving issues.

We also created a content discovery page on Wiley Online Library, which helps explain our vendor practices and serves as a hub for Wiley sales package KBART files.

Happier library Users? Yes, Please.

In addition to our vendor partnerships, we collaborate with libraries to help optimize the KB experience. Libraries are usually the first to notice any data integrity issues within collections and report them to their vendors or Wiley directly. We then work to correct them as quickly as possible. Occasionally, requests come in for institution-specific, customized KBART files to upload to vendor knowledgebases. Until an automated KBART holdings delivery process (currently in development) is established, we’re happy to oblige these requests and help assist with library workflows.

Vendors and libraries also have their own practices for maximizing workflow efficiency. The key objective is to optimize the discovery to delivery experience for library users. All stakeholders have worked decisively and graciously on this front. While there is still work to be done, we can now say with confidence that we’re on the right path.

To learn more, join us on Monday, March 4th at 11AM at the 2019 Electronic Resources and Libraries Conference for the breakout session Forming a More Perfect Knowledgebase: A Tale of Publisher, Vendor and Librarian Collaboration. Discover how librarians, publishers and vendors are collaborating in this space to finally kick those KB blues.

About the Author

Matthew Ragucci

Library Solutions Architect, Wiley //

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