Springer’s Account Development service provides librarians with tools and support to improve usage of Springer resources. Library Zone spoke to Jennifer Maurer to find out more.
Jennifer, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Can we start by asking you to explain about your role and what account development entails?
In short, Account Development provides support to libraries to ensure they receive the best return on investment from all of their Springer electronic resources. As the account development specialist in the southwest US and Canada, I provide libraries in those regions with marketing support, usage analyses, product training, and assist with implementation/MARC-related queries. However, I wouldn’t limit the scope of account development to just those activities. Really, these activities are the framework upon which we grow customer relationships.
What services are available to libraries? How do they benefit librarians?
We provide libraries with the tools and support they need to help raise awareness of Springer products, drive usage and thereby achieve return on investment. Some fundamental services we offer include tracking COUNTER usage on a quarterly basis, conducting account reviews to identify trends in usage data, investigating the usefulness of library search tools in accessing Springer content, presenting product trainings and demos, and providing on-site support for library events (such as Vendor Days or Open Access Week), to name just a few.
Of course, when dealing with diverse libraries with different needs, customized solutions are necessary. The goal is to build a partnership with our customer libraries. Members of the Account Development team have worked in collaboration with libraries to conduct surveys into user behaviours and preferences; my colleague, Bob Boissy, has co-authored a white paper with one of our librarian customers. Last, but certainly not least, we study best practices and developments in discovery, and share these findings with both our colleagues and our customers.
One particular challenge faced by libraries at present is demonstrating Return on Investment of their electronic resources. How can Springer’s account development services help libraries do this?
As libraries are increasingly squeezed financially, librarians need as much data as possible to make informed decisions about their collections. This is where our team’s consistent monitoring of usage statistics becomes crucial. We gather COUNTER statistics for each customer on a quarterly basis to assess usage trends. If we find that usage is not as high as we’d expect, we then work with the library on tactics to help reverse that trend.
As libraries evolve, they are also charged with proving their own value to their universities. We’re addressing this new challenge with regional summits, hosted in conjunction with library marketing, where we invite panelists (often librarians themselves) and outside experts to discuss current trends and “hot topics” (like proving ROI) within the library community.
These one-day workshops provide meaningful insight from experts within the library community, give our customers a platform to share ideas with each other, and help us learn ways to better support our customers, so everyone has something to gain from these events.
Can you tell us a little about how Springer is supporting Information Literacy?
Part of supporting libraries includes tracking market trends and keeping ourselves as informed as possible. Springer is following developments in embedded librarianship, curricular involvement, marketing and promotional librarianship, user behaviour, as well as information literacy and evaluation to understand how we can help libraries in these areas.
If a library’s reference and literacy staff or technical staff would like to talk to us about how we can help them improve uptake and accessibility of online resources, we welcome the opportunity to have this discussion.
Can you give us any examples of how you’ve supported libraries in your region? What have been the most rewarding projects you’ve been involved in?
One large project I’ve worked on recently was to examine usage patterns of university libraries within a consortium. This particular consortium has subscribed to Springer eBooks for some time and usage has historically been strong, though becoming somewhat irregular in the past year. To gather more insight into what could be causing these irregularities, I conducted a more in-depth usage analysis, researched each member institution’s library catalogue, and interviewed librarians at member institutions about their specific cataloguing processes. Perhaps not surprisingly, what stood out was the impact that the introduction of a discovery layer had on usage and the importance of loading MARC records regularly to increase visibility of content.
While I would consider this to be an ongoing project, the feedback yielded by the preliminary stages was that the libraries are pleased that Springer is attune and proactive about these issues.
Finally, the Account Development service is available to all Springer customers around the world. How would a librarian go about requesting support? Who should they contact?
If a library would like to find out more about account development and reach out to the account development specialist within their region, the team’s contact information can be found at: