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OER loves academic libraries

As the library of the University of Michigan makes its final decision about taking on responsibilitiy for OER (Open Education Resources) publishing at the University, a report entitled Reaching the heart of the university: Libraries and the future of OER looks at progress on this collaboration to date. Importantly, the authors, Pieter Kleymeer, Molly Kleinman and Ted Hanss, who will be presenting this as a paper at the Open Education 2010 Conference in Barcelona next month, also reflect more widely and on the many synergies between academic libraries and the OER movement.

Open Michigan

Taking on responsibility for OER publishing at the University of Michigan would mean that the existent Open.Michigan project would be either partly or wholly integrated into the library. Open.Michigan is based in the Medical School, having been initiated by a small number of graduate students and a dean’s laudable conviction that “open education had a place in medical instruction”. It currently focuses on four major areas of activity:

1.       Producing OER from course material , and outreach and consulting services related to OER production

2.       Developing processes and software to support OER production and publishing

3.       The Open.Michigan website

4.       A partnership with OER Africa – The African Health OER Network.

The legacy of early digitisation

The University Library launched its first digitisation and Open Access projects in the early 1990s, and like many other early adopter libraries, now has “established operations to share free content online” – namely “a copyright office, an institutional repository, an experimental unit publishing open access scholarly journals, monograph series, public domain image collections, print-on-demand textbooks, and reprints.”

Dovetailing values

The paper is keen to draw out the broader implications of the Michigan initiative by emphasising the commonality of goals and missions of OER projects and academic libraries:

Academic OER initiatives and university libraries share a determination to improve access to all kinds of scholarly and educational materials, both on their campuses and throughout the world. Given those dovetailing values, partnerships between OER initiatives seem not just logistically convenient but philosophically obvious.


It’s not just about commonality though. It’s about attributes that libraries can offer to OER initiatives, and the report groups these into two categories – infrastructure and relationships.

The roll-call of library infrastructural assets that potentially benefit university OER initiatives should be familiar to most librarians – search and discovery capabilities, copyright expertise, data storage, metadata and indexing, institutional repositories and preservation. It’s this final one, preservation, that caught my attention as it seemed less self-evident than the others, so I’ll quote the report on this:

Many OER projects either use dedicated OER or open courseware publishing platforms such as eduCommons, learning management systems like Sakai or Moodle, or have created their own, but these systems are not designed for preservation of materials or formats. Using platforms like DSpace and Fedora, IRs contain materials in a wide range of formats, and are committed both to making the content freely available and discoverable on the open web, and to preserving the content over the very long term. Few digital publishing operations have concerned themselves with long-term preservation, and as a result gigabytes of born digital content, websites and publications have already been lost (Brand, 1999). Depositing OER into institutional repositories opens up a new potential avenue of discovery while also ensuring that the material will be available for years to come.

The report also comments on the less tangible but nonetheless important area of relationships, pointing out that:

Most university libraries have a central and trusted position in the lives of faculty, students, and administrators on their campuses. Librarians support curriculum development, guide instructors to appropriate learning content, and assist with research.

And in terms of librarian skills:

Areas in which librarians have skills that are relevant to OER programs include outreach and education, curriculum development and instructional support.

Money money money

The big question, all too familiar in the current question, is funding. The report is clear that the library will need additional money in order to take on this function. This was unresolved at the time of writing, and investigations into funding sources are underway. Let’s hope they succeed, as the benefits right across and indeed beyond the institution would seem to be manifold:

If the goal of OER production is to change the culture in the academy, to create a community of teaching and learning that is more participatory, more open, and more accessible, to shift the value system towards one that privileges research and teaching materials that are available for use and reuse over content that is restricted and locked away, what better place from which to launch such an ambitious program than the library, the heart of the university?

Futures thinking for academic librarians

ACRL, I am starting to feel a little bit spoilt. Having only recently praised a recent report of yours, 2010 top ten trends in academic libraries, I am once again blogging effusively about your output. This time it’s Futures thinking for academic librarians: Higher Education in 2025, and it’s very very good – well worth a read. So thank-you very much for another contribution to our collective understanding of the current climate and the options open to us.

The shape of things to come

The authors aren’t claiming to be able to see into the future – they’ve just worked to a sound methodology (as per the top ten trends) which basically consists of a thorough environment scan in the library domain and beyond, accompanied by a small survey to capture the librarian imagination. Imagination seems to be a key ingredient in this study, and that’s refreshing, and shouldn’t be problematic as long as it’s underpinned by methodological rigour, which it seems to be.

But it’s not just an academic exercise. This is fundamentally about giving decision-makers in academic libraries some pointers to help them face the challenges of today and tomorrow. The report backs up this approach with a great quotation from anthropologist Margaret Mead:

I use the term ‘open-ended’ to suggest that our future is neither predetermined nor predictable: it is, rather, something which lies in our own hands, to be shaped and moulded by the choices we make in the present time.

So what are the findings of this report?

The report has identified 26 possible scenarios for academic libraries in the year 2025, the distant horizon being justified by a need to see beyond our current woes. It impressively handles very up-to-date ideas on higher education and ponders their potential impact on academic libraries, and this adds to the value of the report. Then each scenario is positioned on a quadrant that plots impact against probability.

What I’ve done is to group what in my view were the most interesting scenarios into a number of headings, so here goes:

The future size and shape of universities

Pop-up campus – Physical campuses all but disappear with the explosive growth of online learning. Spaces pop up intermittently as needed. Probability: Medium. Impact: High.

This class brought to you by – For profit institutions lead the way with disaggregated offerings enabling students to pick best of breed. Probability – High. Impact – High.

The future student

A college degree for every citizen – a scenario that higher education becomes more popular and valued across society almost to the point of being a universal entitlement. Probability: Medium. Impact: High.

Everyone is a non-traditional student – Students blend studies with the rest of their lives, unable to fund full-time education. Personalised learning becomes the norm as students design their own learning outcomes, and are assessed on demonstrations of learning rather than “seat time”. Probability: Medium. Impact: High.

Meet the new freshman class – The digital divide widens between socially privileged students fluent in digital media, and their less tech savvy counterparts. Probability – Medium. Impact – Medium.

The size and shape of academic libraries

Out of business – The academic library loses relevance in the face of direct provision of commercial information tools and services to students and academics. Probability: Medium. Impact: High.

Scholarly communications and learning resources

Breaking the textbook monopoly – A scenario in which publishers are mandated by law to make textbooks affordable. Meanwhile academics have embraced open educational resources, and are sharing materials online. Probability: Medium. Impact: Medium.

Bridging the scholar / practitioner divide – Open Access and open peer review have become the norm for many field, facilitating agile community-based dialogue. Probability: High. Impact – High.

Academic niche networking – Near breakdown of traditional academic departments, under pressure by online networks and inter-disciplinary drivers. Probability: Low. Impact: High.

Renaissance redux – The walls of the ivory tower come tumbling down, and academics engage freely with society around knowledge problems. Probability: Medium. Impact: High.

Scholarship stultifies – Standard dissemination channels such as university presses implode, but academics continue to be rewarded for conventionally published research. Probability: High. Impact: High.

Pedagogical shifts

No need to search – Authority data is automatically inserted into our content; students are freed up from the need for information skills and can focus on synthesis, analysis and interpretation. Probability:  Medium. Impact: High.

Right here with me – Widespread use of mobile devices with location-based services transforms acquisition of learning materials, and interactions between students. Probability – High. Impact – High.

Think U – Forms of knowledge favour the graphic, schematic and visual. Psycho-emotional attributes are favoured over written communication. Probability: Low. Impact: High.

Woven learning – Learning is underpinned by interwoven subjects and multiple intelligences, and is more experience-based. Probability – Low. Impact – Medium.

JISC and the supplier community

At a conference I attended in the States a couple of years ago, I was repeatedly struck by the high esteem in which JISC is held internationally. Here in the UK, we may gaze across the Atlantic with envy at the resourcing of individual institutions (or at least we used to before the downturn), but we shouldn’t underestimate the value of a structure such as JISC that operates at a sectoral level in terms of the infrastructural and collaborative benefits that such an approach affords, and the economies of scale that can potentially be delivered.

Talis was a sponsor of last week’s JISC Conference 2010, and during the same week, I received an invitation to a forthcoming 45 minute supplier briefing for JISC’s Flexible Services Delivery Programme in London. In considering whether to attend, two related questions in particular started nagging away at me. Firstly, is this supplier briefing a new silo in the making? And secondly, is the project-specific nature of the event also a tad silo-esque?

My feeling is that the challenges facing our higher education sector are so deep, and the need for innovative solutions and supporting infrastructure so great, that JISC needs to transform itself into a collaborative eco-system in which suppliers play their part alongside (not separate from) learning technologists; librarians; academics – in short everyone who can contribute ideas. At the end of the day, we are all working on solutions to the same problems. At the moment, it’s difficult to engage with JISC at any other than a detailed level, usually in the form of an individual project. Yet the JISC Strategy 2010-12 reveals that broad-brush strategic thinking is taking place somewhere in the JISC structure. Doesn’t this need to be opened up to influences right across the sector? Talis is a major UK supplier of library and learning technology, and yet has only a sporadic relationship with JISC. Most suppliers have a longstanding global focus that JISC should arguably be tapping into, as it increasingly collaborates at an international level. A 45 minute briefing for one particular project is unlikely to make much of a difference.

In these straitened times in which JISC is more accountable for sector-wide outcomes than ever before, it makes sense to aggregate the ideas and experiences of all the stakeholders in higher education, doesn’t it? From students to suppliers, aren’t we all relevant? Or do you think that JISC is already engaging sufficiently with stakeholders such as suppliers?

The future of research and the research library

According to a recent report from DEFF, Denmark’s Electronic Research Library:

There are three aspects of the functions of the research library that can be seen as providing potential scenarios. The library as a learning centre focusing on the provision of learning materials and support for learning processes. The library as a knowledge centre being a co-creator in the production of knowledge closely connected to active research groups. The library as a meta-knowledge institution working as a catalyst for knowledge synthesis, the organisation, evaluation and consolidation of knowledge.

As well as exploring this typology in greater detail, the report The future of research and the research library also describes a couple of more concrete and familiar scenarios.

Firstly, one that might have benefited from a deeper exploration in the report:

… up-to-date physical locations where the students can study with other students and in that way get a sense of a working day and a working community. In that way, the library will become more of a social zone, instead of the quiet room for lonely absorption which it is traditionally known for.

And secondly, one that is very much informed by the information literacy role of modern university libraries:

“’The touching library’, i.e. a research library which can touch and move its users through its competence to select and qualify knowledge, and which is touched and moved by its users in order to deliver the best possible product.”

What about the report itself?

It’s ambitious. Very ambitious. It’s also universal in its scope – only occasionally delving into Denmark-specific structures and scenarios. I can’t hope to do justice to the richness of its content in one single blog, so I can only present a subjective take.

Essentially, the report seeks to answer the following questions:

–          Does the research library have a future?

–          What future roles are open to the research library?

–          Would a roadmap be useful?

Instinctively I draw away from the idea of a roadmap. There are simply too many variables and broad forces over which we have so little control, notwithstanding the excellent framework that this report has provided. I’m unsure after reading the report twice whether it has answered these questions, Certainly no roadmap is forthcoming. Nevertheless, for those of us who spend time pondering over the future of the university library, it provides excellent food for thought.

Seismic change and disruption

It’s especially useful in terms of the material it presents for understanding the scale of disruption that the research library is undergoing.

Massive technological changes in the area of research, knowledge production, publishing and communication are influencing the way research is done and the functions of the research library in supporting and facilitating research and learning. Digital technology in its many forms is at the centre of the changes. The old functions of the research library are thus served in new ways. New forms of research emerge and new ways of learning too, and consequently not only new ways of serving old functions but also new functions serving new needs.

On the historical value of the research library, the report states:

The original form of value creation of the research library was based on minimising expenditure for acquisition and availability of books and journals. By having a central store it was possible to acquire fewer entities and by making these available it was possible to maximise their use. Books were expensive and few could afford large private libraries.

The report goes on to make the point that this cost-effectiveness is found today in licensing of e-journals and database, but the value is surely diminished where the number of users is factored into the cost of the licence, in a way that was not the case with a printed monograph.

There are also broader changes in terms of the research and educational systems, not least the expansion of higher education which is a global phenomenon, and the role that digital technology is perceived as a means of resolving the resultant problems and tensions. In research too there is much change – more collaborative styles and the ascendant trends towards interdisciplinary research being two obvious examples.

I know that one bright and joyous day I will pick up a report that talks about the impact of cultural relativism on an institution (the library) that has served as an absolutist custodian of authoritative artefacts. Sadly, that day is not today, and I just have to live with that (or write my own).

What history tells us

By and large, this isn’t an easy read. It’s highly theoretical and enormously broad as I’ve said. However, the report does present a very digestible history of the research library. Space constraints preclude even an attempt to do this justice, but what I will say is that it clarified in my mind many unanswered questions about how precisely the research library model has been disrupted. As is so often the case, it is not simply the case that the Internet has somehow thrown a deadly missile into a centuries-old static model, and instead should be seen as the latest and most disruptive change in the history of the research library, following on the heels of other catalysts such as the shift away from books in favour of scientific journals.

Research library and the innovation economy

The other interesting thing about the historical narrative of this report is that it presents a degree of historical continuum in the relationship between the research library and more focused problem-driven innovative activities in the broader economy. The report notes that a massive amount of research is being done in the knowledge-intensive private sector. It makes a very valid point that the limitations experienced in terms of access to digital resources (being mainly restricted to academia) is problematic, especially for SMEs.

What about curiosity driven research?

The report states that:

The British sociologist of science Steve Fuller has made a distinction between two ways in which research and universities create value. One is the direct creation of knowledge that can be used in making processes and products available in a market. This is the role of research in innovation. It contributes to the creation of financial capital. In this knowledge is seen as instrumental. The other way is through the creation of degree programmes and public education and making knowledge publicly available.

It wasn’t clear to me when reading the report where curiosity-driven research sits in this model, and indeed in the report as a whole. Yet it is surely of vital importance, even in today’s instrumental thinking around research and economic innovation. You could even argue that it assumes an even greater importance – we surely need to make huge leaps in our thinking to achieve the necessary scale of economic restructuring in most Western economies, and thinking needs to be as unrestrained as possible.

The central dilemma of the intermediary

The report provides some valuable pointers in terms of the role of the librarian and the competences that will be required. Our old friend disintermediation plays a major role in the discomfort that librarians have experienced for many years now:

New players are appearing as important and can take over some of the functions or parts of these. Publishers can provide access to journals on-line via their own servers, and universities and scientific groups or societies can provide access to digital repositories of papers and books.

As one interviewee said:

The dilemma is that you on one hand do something for the user and make yourself indispensable, and on the other hand you create the user in your own picture [sic] and thus make yourself dispensable.

This quotation surely goes to the heart of the pain of disintermediation, and reminded me forcibly of my days as a special librarian in the metals industry.

To my mind, the most optimistic statement in the whole report was this one:

Our belief about who we are does influence what we perceive as possible.

It really is true that even in adverse conditions, a little bit of self-belief can make a lot of difference, and this report has at least delivered some clarity to a highly complex landscape.

How college students seek information in the digital age

How college students seek informationHow college students seek information in the digital age is a report of findings from 2318 US students, surveyed in spring 2009 that seeks to understand how students search for information and approach research-type activities. Having read the report, I now understand fully why I’ve seen so many tweets about this report along the lines of “If you read nothing else from now to the end of the year…”

The report introduces a useful typology of students’ research activities:

1. Big picture: Background information on a specific topic
2. Language: Finding out more about the words and terms around that topic
3. Situational: Judging the extent to which an area needs to be researched
4. Information-gathering: “Finding, accessing, and securing relevant research resources.”

… and points out that students experience needs in all these areas on a frequent basis.

So here we are deep in the digital age, characterised eloquently by the report as “a fast-paced, fragmented, and data-drenched time that is not always in sync with the pedagogical goals of colleges”. Since the “digital native” archetype has been all but discredited, what can we say about the online behaviours of that generation in this confusing and sometimes overwhelming landscape?

First of all, I was impressed by reference to broader forces (i.e. those that transcend technological advances), as articulated here:

… today’s students have defined their preferences for information sources in a world where credibility, veracity, and intellectual authority are less of a given – or even an expectation from students – with each passing day.

So it’s not just the technology that is a catalyst for change in the scholarly environment.

At a general level, librarians will be struck by the gaps identified between the students’ conceptualisation of research and that of instructors and librarians. The librarian approach is broadly characterised by thoroughness – advising students to move from the general to the specific when information searching, using scholarly resources to that end. Students surveyed, on the other hand, used a whole range of resources that delivered large numbers of results early on in the searching process, irrespective of their scholarly status.

The quantitative findings are interwoven by quotations from students’ interviewed, and all have a ring of authenticity, such as this one:

When I’m doing research, usually it’s the material that I have from the class, or the stuff I’m looking up from the library databases. But if I don’t understand something from those things like a word or a concept, then I’ll go [sic] a search engine, or if I just need quick facts or something like that, I’ll use a search engine to find them.

“Information overload”

Students in all institutions used Google to complement scholarly resources found with a much larger result set, although they did not always use Google first or exclusively. The resulting “information overload” gave rise to considerable frustration:

In general, students reported little information-seeking solace in the age of the Internet and digital information. Frustrations were exacerbated, not resolved by their lack of familiarity with a rapidly expanding and increasingly complex digital landscape in which ascertaining the credibility of sources was particularly problematic.

“A risk-averse and predictable information-seeking strategy”

Another key finding is that

… nearly all of the students in our sample had developed an information-seeking strategy reliant on a small set of common information sources – close at hand, tried and true. Moreover, students exhibited little inclination to vary the frequency or order of their use, regardless of their information goals and despite the plethora of other online and in-person information resources – including librarians – that were available to them.

This, coupled with findings around “information overload”, suggests that students are dealing with the immensity of the information landscape by creating some kind of self-imposed walled garden, or what the report calls “a risk-averse and predictable information-seeking strategy.”

Scholarly databases

Students valued the “credible content, in-depth information, and the ability to meet instructors’ expectations” of scholarly research databases such as ProQuest (sponsors of this research). They were used in all of the research activities of the typology outlined above.

Most students used such databases for 3 reasons:

1. Quality of content
2. To meet lecturers’ expectations of resources consulted
3. Perceived simplicity of search interfaces.

The 24/7 availability of those resources was surprisingly less important.

Course readings

Almost every respondent turned first to course readings for course-readings for assignments, because these resources are “inextricably tied to the course and the assignment”, as well as being readily available and sanctioned by the lecturer.

Contact with lecturers and librarians

Lecturer availability was most important to students for answering questions submitted by email. 76% also found the setting of standards for resources consulted to be useful. Lecturers, then, unlike librarians, were seen as an integral part of the research workflow.

This contrasts sharply with contact with librarians. The report goes so far as to talk of a “student librarian disconnect”. So even though 78% of respondents are still using the OPAC to find books and other library materials, and 72% are making use of library study areas in the course of their research activities, only 12% made use of “on-site, non-credit library training sessions”, and 20% consulted librarians about their assignments.

As one student said:

Generally, it is not necessary to talk to a librarian – if the library is well laid out, you can search for material online, once you find it, you can request that they put them on hold for you and then just go and collect them. Or, if you know the physical location, you can just go and collect it yourself. When those ways fail, I’ll go bug a librarian. But otherwise, it just seems like there are resources to be used, rather than taking up someone’s time.


This is an exceptionally useful report for anyone interested in student searching behaviours and student engagement in academic libraries more generally. Its sophisticated and rigorous methodology enables it to transcend received understanding and offer some really valuable insights. Academic librarians will justifiably be concerned about this “student librarian disconnect” which manifests itself not only in an ever-lessening of direct contact, but also in students’ own search behaviour. I believe that librarians are responding to this by making themselves available at the point of need, and working closely with academics to improve information literacy among undergraduates. I don’t believe that the findings of this report will be altogether surprising to the UK academic library community, but it’s an exceptionally valuable report all the same.

The impact of the economic recession on university library services

Senior managers in libraries have been managing fluctuating budgets for years now, but have managed to maintain service provision. However, the prospect of deeper financial cuts introduces the real possibility of reductions in opening hours, staff development as well as limitations in resource provision. The decreasing value of sterling will continue to impact UK libraries in what is now an internationalised supply chain, and shifting demands of expectations of students and academics will of course continue to have an impact.

Recession reportThis is how Head Librarians in UK universities currently perceive the oncoming impact of the economic downturn according to The impact of the economic recession on university library and IT services, a report published last month by JISC, SCONUL and UCISA, that seeks to find some of the questions that are taxing most if not all of us about how the UK’s economic problems are going to play out in the academic library sector. The report considers IT services alongside university libraries, and we have blogged about the impact of the recession on IT services on our Education blog.

To pretend that the recession somehow marked the start of budgetary restrictions in academia would be to mythologise the recent past, and this report doesn’t fall into that trap, quoting one respondent to the study from the Head Librarian of a post-1992 university:

I’ve had year on year cuts every year I’ve been here… but what we’re facing now actually is nothing new for us. We’ve had hefty audit difficulties but we’re through that now, but [the audit difficulties] resulted in fall backs, which resulted in budget cuts. So I’m quite expecting 09/10 to be difficult; I’m expecting 10/11 to be more difficult, but it’s within a context of never having much fat on the bones anyway. I know I’m going to cope with it because I’ve been doing it for the last seven years, I’m not coming from a position of plenty to a position of poverty.

An opportunity for review?

But lest we should feel that we’re on a never-ending downward spiral, the report is clear that the library service remains essential to the institution’s core mission of learning, teaching and research. And although there is realism that the “achievable” cost reductions of 2009/10 will give way to much more challenging conditions, there is also a sense of “looking at the bright side”, i.e. seeing an opportunity to review current practices and services to ensure that they remain fit for purpose:

It’s an opportunity for us to look at what we do well, where we have maximum benefit and add true value to activities both that are delivered by this department and also that this department contributes to the faculties and to other departments in the university. [Pre-1992 University]

It’s all the more praiseworthy, given the chronic budgetary challenges that university libraries have endured, that a shift to a more customer-focused service has nonetheless been achieved. It’s all the more remarkable that one of the principal manifestations of this transformation has been a breadth of service provision, with cataloguing and collections management giving way to “a service that delivers a wide range of information management tools across a very broad spectrum of format”.

Social learning spaces at risk?

The physical library building is a huge element of this service transformation. As the report notes:

Changing the physical space of the library so it works better for students has consequently increased their use of the library space (but not necessarily the library resources). So with the shift of resources online, evidence suggests students are now spending more time within library buildings than they have in the past; the library has become a social study space.

The ability to continue to improve and develop social learning spaces, as recommended by the report, may well be compromised by capital budget cuts, which according to the report, are more likely to be impacted than recurrent spend. Estate budgets including storage and social learning spaces may well be endangered, although the acknowledged status of social learning spaces as market differentiators in the competition between institutions to attract students, may mitigate to an extent.

Bournemouth University techno booths 2With library design and service enhancements such as extended library open hours now at risk, the problem as I see it is the difficulty of taking away something that has previously been given, a problem that is all the more acute when applied to something that is perceived as an entitlement. So these changes, should they occur, will require delicate handling, especially in the customer-centric services now offered on all campuses.

Rationalising resources?

Another fundamental aspect of academic library provision discussed in the report is information resources. Most libraries are planning to renegotiate their journal portfolio and software licences in coming years, and are also prepared to cut journal subscription and book purchase in preference to staff losses. The impact on university life of cancelled subscriptions has yet to be evaluated, although the report does point out that reductions in spend will have a knock-on effect of weakening library purchase power in the supply chain.

In the meantime, libraries are prioritising measures such as consortial purchasing alongside JISC collections, and also the emerging Open Access model, as a combined means of managing costs in journal subscriptions. Whilst the report suggests liaison with academics to identify e-resources that could possibly be discontinued due to insufficient use, the widespread licensing of national deals can hinder rationalisation of individual titles.

On top of global price increases, UK university library spending power has also been adversely impacted by the drop in the value of sterling. The report notes that no university has developed a plan to mitigate for the impact of currency fluctuations (a problem that extends beyond the library) even though it is a source of concern to everyone.

A choice of two negatives?

Of course we don’t know for certain how the budgetary challenges will impact the university library; all that the report has done is to open up the minds of Library Directors and synthesise the findings, valuable though that certainly is. But the report makes a number of general points that are applicable whatever the outcome.

Firstly, the report points out that libraries will need tools at their disposal for assessing their impact, value and costs, as the sector as a whole comes under increased costs pressure.

And secondly, libraries will inevitably have to make a choice between carrying out multiple cuts across the whole range of services or identifying entire areas to cut instead. The multiple cut scenario entails a risk devaluing the overall offering, and dashing user expectations right across the board. On the other hand, cutting an entire service area, even if it’s a real minority taste, is bound to cause pain.

A choice of two negatives – let’s hope that the future offers more than this.