Monday, March 1, 2010
H. Frederick Dylla

Director's Matters

By H. Frederick Dylla, Executive Director & CEO

Masters of resources, shepherds of information

Among AIP's most important stakeholders are librarians—curators of their institutions' reserve of academic literature and scholarly information. Mutual goals make our relationship symbiotic. Together we strive to empower people with reliable information, advancing personal and, ultimately, collective knowledge. As a publisher of scientific journals, AIP relies on this customer group to subscribe to AIP's various publications and make them available to their user communities. It is, therefore, important that we continually interact with librarians, to pinpoint their needs and keep them informed of the products and services we offer. AIP maintains a dedicated webpage for librarians, and last year we initiated the AIP Library Matters newsletter. Below, senior marketing manager Bruce Shriver discusses AIP's most recent efforts to engage this important stakeholder group.  – Fred

Listening to learn

By Bruce Shriver, senior marketing manager

To enhance communication with its customers, AIP has initiated a series of focus groups with librarians to gather feedback on AIP initiatives. During the American Library Association (ALA) 2010 Midwinter Meeting and the Electronic Resources and Libraries (ER&L) 2010 Conference, AIP held the first of these focus groups, which turned out to be productive and enlightening.

Doug LaFrenier moderates AIP's journal-pricing focus group at the ALA 2010 Midwinter Meeting. The first librarian focus group was held on January 16 during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston. Director of publication sales and market development Doug LaFrenier moderated a lively discussion focused on pricing models. Eleven librarians, representing several of AIP's academic customers, shared what they like and dislike about the various pricing models offered by journal publishers today, including our own. We learned that journal prices based on usage seem inherently fair to many librarians. Bernadette Garcia promoted AIP Publishings products and services to ALA exhibit attendees. We also learned more about the librarians' expectations of perpetual access to the journals to which they subscribe. As in past years, AIP also exhibited at the ALA Midwinter Meeting, where Bernadette Garcia, manager of membership and customer service, and I interacted with visitors at the AIP booth. AIP's director of business development, Terry Hulbert, also participated as a speaker on one of the panels.

In early February, we conducted our second focus group at the ER&L conference, which took place on the University of Texas at Austin campus. AIP has been a sponsor of this exciting and rapidly growing conference for the past three years. AIP's focus group at the ER&L 2010 Conference discussed electronic resources and publisher offerings. On February 2, Julie Zhu, senior project coordinator for online services, and I met with 13 librarians from a variety of research institutions. In sync with the ER&L conference's thematic focus on electronic resources, this group concentrated on the ways in which libraries provide online access to electronic materials in their collections, the tools they would like publishers to provide, and the standards to which they would like publishers to adhere. 4)	Julie Zhu ready to discuss AIP publications and Scitation with librarians at the ER&L vendor reception. We learned more about how librarians use third-party electronic resource management systems, and the vendors they use for these systems.

Focus groups give us an opportunity to engage small groups of librarians and receive feedback to specific questions in a formal, controlled setting. They also help us develop ongoing dialog with individual librarians, whom we can contact in the future. Recruiting participants requires reaching out to many librarians, and this outreach shows the community that we seek their opinions and value their feedback.

PRC Matters

Snow no match for students at the APS/AAPT Meeting

The record snowfall in the mid-Atlantic region earlier this month did not deter hundreds of enthusiastic undergraduate physics students from descending on Washington, DC, for the 2010 APS/AAPT Joint Meeting. Many students arrived in time to enjoy a physics careers panel discussion on opening day. Four SPS reporters listened intently to the sessions, and interviewed speakers, attendees, and Member Society leaders throughout the six-day event. Diane Jacobs When finalized, the reports will be posted on the SPS National website. During the awards ceremony, SPS president Toni Sauncy presented the annual Outstanding Chapter Advisor Award to professor Diane Jacobs, SPS Advisor at Eastern Michigan University for the past 25 years. The award honors one advisor among the 742 chapters nationwide for exemplary leadership, development of student leaders, and contributions to the program. SPS, APS, and AAPT held a joint outreach event for local elementary students, which was very well received. One teacher remarked, "The hands-on outreach events were so eye-catching and engaging. Our students were captivated."

SPS director Gary White (back, center) handed out Galileoscopes to the winners of an ice-breaker activity during the student awards reception.SPS had six dedicated oral sessions and a poster session, in which 75 (!) SPS members presented their research. Many more undergraduates participated in the specialized research sessions. During the SPS student awards reception, 21 presenters were honored with "Outstanding Paper" certificates and books donated by APS and AAPT. Reception attendees enjoyed a spirited game of "Physics Jeopardy" and a riveting talk by astrophysicist Vera Rubin about her life, career, and research on the surprisingly fast velocities of stars in the outer reaches of galaxies. In recognition of her work, the Sigma Pi Sigma honor society received Rubin as an honorary member. More about this induction will appear in a future issue of AIP Matters.

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For past issues of this newsletter, visit the AIP Matters archives.