Consortium of MnPALS Libraries
Deans/Directors/Coordinators and User Council
Thursday, April 12, 2012
9:30 a.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Atwood Memorial Center
St. Cloud State University
Voyageurs North (2nd Floor)
Thomas Bremer, Executive Committee Chair
Robbie LaFleur, Secretary
Attendees: Kathleen Ashe, Orrin Ausen, Trudy Bement, Thomas Bremer, Karen Bronshteyn, Sonja Eilertson, Stephen Elfstrand, Mark Eriksen, Keith Ewing, Lisa Forslund, Ala Garlinska, Dan Honetschlager, Johnna Horton, Peter Jarnstrom, Cynthia Jorstad, Larry Kellerman, Deb Kelman, Michael Kirby, Robbie LaFleur, Alexey Lazar, Amy Naughton, Laura Oanes, Kathy Parker, Lori Pesik, Diane Pollock, Sarah Quimby, Bridget Reistad, Linda Richter, Becky Ringwelski, Joan Roca, Pam Sukalski, Bill Vann, Pam Wible, Bruce Willms, Ruth Zietlow
Attendees (via phone): Carrie Curie, Deb Domek, Barbara Fister, Perry Madden, Randi Madisen, Adam Marsnik, Pete McDonnell, Tina Trullinger, Todd Digby (for his report)
Approval of Agenda
Orrin Ausen/Sharon Hoverson moved, approved.
Kathleen Ashe/Amy Naughton moved, all approved.
MnSCU Update - Todd Digby
Todd expressed his regrets that he was unable to attend today's meeting.
The budget for PALS looks promising, with MnSCU showing a commitment to libraries. Todd is hopeful that some central funding will be coming through for PALS Universe. There are "many" requests for "some" available initiative funds.
The legislative season is winding down. It's "somewhat of a lame bonding year" for building requests. He is working on the "Desire to learn" system and on video streaming. More news will be related in the coming months on those projects. With a new chancellor and new vice-chancellor there are lots of changes in the way the office works. The new chancellor is a really hard worker, a late night worker.
Tom asked, "Do we need a contract to change from Minitex to OCLC billing for catalog services?" Todd said this may be a campus by campus decision, but he could look into creating a model contract. You should check with your campus business office, Todd advised.
Todd was asked to describe more about the media streaming project. Each campus will be allocated a certain amount of bandwidth. You will need to have copyright permission to store video. They are not looking at a place to store high-definition high-quality originals. This is more like a YouTube storage situation, to replay video.
PALS Update - Stephen Elfstrand, Executive Director
Stephen introduced Alexey Lazar, a new tech staff person. There is a new ITS2 position posted. The interview process for the cataloging specialist position is beginning.
Stephen went on to budget issues. PALS is doing well, there are no surprises, we received the income we expected, the expenses were lower than expected, they reduced the staff by two. They are contracting for PC support from MSU rather than paying a PALS staff person for that work. The personnel line was down. Instead of buying storage, they are renting storage from MSU, another area for saving. We may have a surplus this year for the first time in a long time. Servers are more than 3-4 years old, thought they would have to change them this year, but that didn't need to happen. The maintenance contract hadn't gone up as expected. The Aleph servers may last another year or two longer than first expected, pushing that expense to the future.
Last year we didn't get what we hoped for from MnSCU, then the state fiscal situation was so dire that getting the full PALS amount seemed in danger, but the full amount has been paid by MnSCU. Now there may be an additional $300,000 available from MnSCU for PALS services. We’ll know by May for certain.
For future budgeting, we need to keep the Aleph servers in mind. Even if we changed to a cloud-based service, there would be costs for first-year implementation.
Should they establish a second reserve for the next gen library service? There would certainly be first-year start-up costs, in addition to ongoing yearly costs. It's good to set up a reserve, so that operational lines can be considered separately.
If we get the $300,000 payment this year, that would help with future expenses.
Long term, we need to boost our revenue and cut expenses. We have a healthy reserve right now, but it shrinks in coming years. A longer-term negative trend is of concern. PALS will continue to ask for more support from MnSCU.
They have been working on revenue. Evergreen service is one area. All the Open Source products combined have brought in $700,000 in revenue from FY08-FY13. Financial stability is an important part of the PALS office strategic plan.
Aleph 21 installation next fall should bring little change to the end user, requires more work on the PALS end due to necessary upgrade of ORACLE.
There have been a couple of performance issues in the past couple of weeks, caused by huge hits on the MSU SAN server. PALS contracts for space on that storage network. MSU is going to be upgrading their SAN this summer. The huge bulk load levels on the SAN are not caused by PALS, but we are affected by it.
PALS responded to an RFP request for a South Dakota ILS system, which includes many public and school libraries. Proposal includes helping SDLN with upgrade of ORACLE and Aleph21 and/or managing the Aleph Server for them, until such time as the next gen ILS systems mature to the point they are ready for a large consortium.
There are some nibbles from a variety of libraries, including the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, to look at Evergreen installations. They are still working on the IMLS grant for the King County, Washington, Evergreen installation.
MnPALS Plus. The mobile site is up, based on version 1.3. They hope to have the main MnPALS Plus database up on the new version soon. Call number and browsing will be in 1.3, which should be up by fall. Some features in the current version may not be available, but new features not in the current feature will be present. They will be convening the MnPALS Plus Working Group to advise on the new version features.
ERM developments are underway. Some of the features were demonstrated at the Systems Workday yesterday.
They are working on an Islandora/Fedora repository pilot. They may test a zine collection from MCTC and the state documents from LRL. Audio and video could be included in this repository. There could be a tab on MnPALS for "Retrieve my digital assets."
Minitex Report - Becky Ringwelski
Director search: Initial meeting in late December, next meeting on May 4. The search follows strict U of M human resources protocols. Becky could not even state how many candidates have applied to date.
If your institution needs an OCLC contract for billing, OCLC has a boilerplate contract that they will work with you to adapt. Any questions, Carla Urban is the expert.
The Minitex ILL conference will be held on May 10. Lee Rainey from the Pew Foundation is the keynote speaker. He has a book coming out in May, too, so he should have a lot to share.
Interesting: Ariel, the TIFF based ILL delivery system, is going out, and Minitex is moving to pdf based systems. However, the licensing dictates which system can be used for electronic delivery.
MnPALS Futures Interest Group (FIG) - Michael Kirby
Possible upcoming topics include digital access management, circulation for e-readers, libraries’ experiences with social media, the effect of RDA on the catalog of the future. They've decided to have a book group discussion. The book with the most votes is "Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses."
PALS Universe Discussion
Stephen Elfstrand gave a presentation on the PALS Universe proposal to MnSCU, beginning with a brief, cool video showing the frustration of students in their search for quality information resources.
The goal is to give all students equal access to resources. There should be common systems even if students move between institutions, central funding to support equal resources. Why should PALS be the one to create this system? Thirty years of development, experience with library systems. They’ve already created pieces of the system. They have the centrally-funded model in place, at least for the MnSCU system. The collaborative model extends to all PALS libraries.
Moving to PALS Universe is a matter of competitiveness also, as students at the U of M, U of I, and other regional colleges have access to more services.
Now, almost none of the PALS libraries have discovery services. (Normandale is a leader.) Many libraries WANT one. A group subscription is very cost-efficient. It would cost 4 to 5 times as much if libraries subscribed individually, as opposed to a group purchase. Stephen: “This is the Sams Club model. We already know about this. This is the way we build the library system. We focus on the technology.”
They want to buy the piece that they can’t reproduce, which is the huge central index, the database of sources. We want to control costs by aggregating demand from many users. Those libraries that are not MnSCU ride on the benefits contracted by MnSCU.
A director expressed one doubt about moving to the Google search/one-search model for academic institutions. Don’t people have to think for themselves? Answers: We can’t provide instruction for all our students, so this helps them get to information without specific training. Discovery systems increase the use of library databases. Students expect a Google-like interface. Ruth Zietlow worried about access to the 10% of the products that are required by programs, but not in the Discovery package. Additionally, there is concern about students, about whether they will even understand the difference between a journal and a book.
Stephen responded to the concern about how to differentiate between the book collection and electronic journals within a discovery database environment. You could use MnPALS Plus and have tabbed access to materials, so that one tab could be “Books and Reports;” you can separate access to different types of materials. One problem with a universal search is that if you have 10,000 books and a million articles, the faceted searches will pick up primarily journal articles and not the books. Something could be done so that the faceted searching looks at the categories separately and ensures coverage of relevant books.
Instruction will still be important with the new system; that won’t go away.
For support of wide-area discovery, new staff members would likely be necessary at PALS. For LINKER, there are 30 libraries on board already; adding another twenty may not require additional staff. Some of the parts of the Universe proposal would be done in pieces; some are easy to implement, some would take more time. The wide-area discovery would probably be implemented in cohorts.
In putting together the proposal, they took into consideration the separate payments they are now getting, for the LINKER subscriptions, for example.
How will the decision be made about which discovery product should be purchased? Issues include:
Stephen said he is selling PALS Universe as a “technology platform,” not as a library service that would cut into existing library budgets.
Stephen thought he would have to go to the MnSCU Leadership Council to sell the proposal, but it seems the Chancellor, Todd, and IT people could work to find pots of money to begin the process. “Sort of like the Vikings Stadium,” Stephen noted, the process of putting together the funding package.
Thomas Bremer asked whether a task force should be created to help with advising on the details of choosing the vendors and putting together a package.
Form a task force to advise PALS staff on the selection of a discovery service vendor if funding is approved for PALS Universe. It’s sort of a moving target, and content and interfaces are changing constantly.
Stephen said that some libraries have already investigated discovery tool vendors and he would like to benefit from that research. Tom will send out a call for volunteers for the task force.
Kathy Parker (St. Ben's/St. John's) said they evaluated the ease of use of the search interface for their product. Stephen said he would like to get additional information from them, and from any other campuses that have done research or surveys about their proposed or in-place discovery systems.
It is likely that an RFP would have to be written (it wouldn’t have to be done from scratch; it could begin with the base of recent Wisconsin RFPs.) If a few people could be available in the summer for a conference call, that would be good. Keep in mind that the vendor chosen now doesn’t have to be forever.
Why use an ERM? Johnna Horton from South Central College said that she was skeptical about whether she needed an ERM, and has found that she is now much more likely to choose an individual digital title or resource because she has a way to manage them. Another advantage? Localizing your statistics.
MnPALS Future ILS Task Force
Members in the room, and those communicating via phone, were recognized.
Bruce Willms convened the group one time before the Annual Meeting, and they came up with a list of questions to use for brainstorming. Bruce: How do we want to organize the task force? Given it is nearly the end of the academic year, how can we meet?
Keith Ewing: Is it assumed that there will be one system developed for all PALS libraries, or could there be more than one system available? Tom: Is the consortium at the point when one system will serve all members, or are we at the point when some members might need a full-featured system and other libraries may only need a more streamlined system? That could be considered by the group.
Bruce: Looking at Marshall Breeding’s overview of systems, there are really only a few that are large enough to support an organization of our size.
Should we be open-minded about approaches that don’t fit the traditional model of library services?
Stephen: Ex Libris has actually talked about separating the back end from the front end. Changing the back end library system may take years; taking advantage of a discovery system can happen more quickly.
Keith: I’m interested in a system that is more integrated – institutional digital resources as well as cataloging, circ., etc., as we think of the library in new ways.
Joan Roca: OCLC did a review of MSU holdings and found that 2/3 were already in Google Books. The things of long-term value will be local items related to their programs. The book paradigm will change to the electronic paradigm and change our back-room needs. It would make sense to link to the Hathi Trust and link to any book (Google Books too). We’ll have the circulation function in the future, but it will be different from what we have so far.
Stephen: We aren’t interested in clipping the wings of any forerunner, but there are a lot of people who don’t have the capability to create those systems.
Stephen: What HAS to be in a system? Does ILL have to be in a system, or could we rely on Minitex? Orrin Ausen: Will we even need ILL?
Keith: The concept of the library is being challenged by the individualization of access on devices like smartphones.
It would be interesting to know about which parts of Aleph are currently being used by PALS members, to create an inventory. That could guide us to considering a two-system solution. Maybe drive down further than just who uses which module, to figure out which functionality of the modules is being used.
Keith: But we should find out, what is the idea of each library of where the library is headed, and where their services are heading. Are there going to be new business models? Short term licensing? Some assets you own, some you create, some you lease for varying lengths of time. Orrin: So you're saying that the new product should have an ERM built into it? Keith: At the very least!
Linda Richter: Ex Libris will be less willing to make enhancements as time goes on. We’ll have to pick a product that is moving in the right direction. I would be very surprised if, within two to five years, a product will exist that serves all our future identified needs. We should come up with a list of important components of a future system we will purchase, and then make the decision based on those needs and the fact we believe the purchased system will evolve.
Joan: “I’d like to thank the members of the task force for this lifetime commitment.” We have to focus on the type of the library that we want. Where are we going as libraries? Then we can see what we want in the back room, in the front room? We should set our targets as to what we want to see the task force accomplish, and when?
Tom: Implicit timeline has been established. By the next annual meeting, consider when a change from Aleph should take place.
Recommend how long to stay on Aleph? Functionalities of a new system? What would be the best time to move to an ILS? Should we consider something broader than the traditional ILS?
Tom: We have said that the discussion is about a Next generation library system, which of course can be broader that the current back-end Aleph system.
Orrin: The ultimate goal is what will be best for our patrons.
Adam: How can the system help us to accomplish the functions of the library? What can the system do so that we can work more efficiently?
Becky: Because the U is moving to Alma, they have been doing a lot of work on looking at things differently. Betsy Friesen is the lead person for moving to Alma; she might be a good resource person, in having considered many questions of change to cloud-based systems.
Stephen: If the future ILS task force could come up with high-level requirements for a new system, that would be useful.
Mark Eriksen: Suggested that a questionnaire be sent out to directors, high-level, to ask where their libraries are going.
Bill Vann: Maybe we need to look at what is available as a starting point.
Adam: We have to have a system that does what our current system does.
Orrin: Suggests that members of the task force each study a system, develop a knowledge base.
So for now the ILS study group members will meet, look at the available systems and devise a way to develop a knowledge base within the group about the various systems.
Consortium Strategic Plan
Tom and Robbie discussed the draft revisions of the 2006 Consortium Strategic Plan, which is more accurately a list of statement about vision and accompanying lists of broad strategies. Several word and phrase changes based on suggestions from the attendees will be made.
Someone asked how the vision statements and strategies fit in with the strategic plan chart in our folders. The PALS Office has a detailed strategic plan for office operations; our Consortium Strategic Plan is an overall statement to describe the vision of the consortium as a whole.
Another person commented that the revised Consortium Strategic Plan does not include specific action items to accomplish. And it doesn’t. It is more a statement of principles that will be available publicly on the PALS website, describing the vision of the consortium. Specific action items are devised by the Executive Committee on an ongoing basis at meetings, spurred by the vision and broad strategies outlined in the Consortium Strategic Plan.
Revisions will be made to the documents based on suggestions at the Annual meeting and voted on at the September EC meeting, and posted on the public PALS site.
Recalculation of the Crown College funding formula decreases their number of bib records and patron count significantly, saving the institution around $7,000. They missed the deadline for change by one month. Crown College is facing fiscal difficulty and considering a switch to WorldShare to save $7-9,000. In order to keep this customer Stephen would like to allow them to pay the lower amount. Proponents of the change pointed out that Crown College has likely been OVERPAYING for a long period of time, that this is a rare situation, and that a change only reflects a fair charge.
Orrin moved, Bonnie seconded a motion to allow Crown College to change its bib and patron counts and pay a reduced amount in the coming year. It passed.
Joan moved, Orrin seconded the move to combine the Special Libraries category and the State Government Library categories, and have two representatives. Approved.
Meetings were set for the coming year.
September 13, 2012 - MSU @ 7700 France Avenue
November 8, 2012 - web meeting
February 14, 2013 - web meeting
April 11, 2013 (Annual Meeting) - St. Cloud
Tentative plan for Tuesday, October 23, 2012 in St. Cloud
Robbie LaFleur, Secretary
Adobe Connect URL: https://umconnect.umn.edu/annualmtg041212
Phone Number: 507-389-1014
9:30 Welcome – Thomas Bremer, Executive Committee Chair
10:45 PALS Universe Proposal – Stephen Elfstrand
12:00 Lunch at Valhalla, located on the lower level in the Brickyard (provided by PALS)
1:00 Future ILS Task Force
2:15 Consortium Strategic Plan – Discussion
3:00 2012 – 2013 Goals for PALS and the Executive Committee
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