Consortium of MnPALS Libraries
Deans, Directors, and Coordinators
Thursday, April 18, 2013
9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Atwood Memorial Center
St. Cloud State University
Thomas Bremer, Executive Committee Chair
Robbie LaFleur, Secretary
Attendees (In-Person): Jen Ashkenazi, Normandale CC; Trudy Bement, PALS; Vi Bergquist, St. Cloud TCC; Dave Bissonette, Central Lakes; Bonnie Boese, ARC-Cambridge; Thomas Bremer, Winona State; Carrie Curie, PALS; Todd Digby, MnSCU; Stephen Elfstrand, PALS; Keith Ewing, St. Cloud State; Dan Honetschlager, PALS; Larry Kellerman, Central Lakes; Deb Kelman, MSCTC-Fergus Falls; Alex Kent, PALS; Elizabeth Lincoln, Legislative Reference; Perry Madden, PALS; Randi Madisen, Century College; Adam Marsnik, Normandale CC; Kathy Parker, St. Ben's/St. John's; Jim Parsons, St. Ben's/St. John's; Sarah Quimby, Historical Society; Bridget Reistad, Lake Superior College; Linda Richter, PALS; Becky Ringwelski, Minitex; Kimberly Sy, Normandale CC.
Attendees (Via Web): Kathleen Ashe, Southwest MN State; Susan Dueis, PALS; Sonja Eilertson, PALS; Johnna Horton, South Central College; Carolyn Kelleher, Ridgewater College; Michael Kirby, Dakota County TC; Pete McDonnell, Bemidji State; Diane Pollock, University Center Rochester; Laura Probst, Concordia; Joan Roca, Minnesota State, Mankato; Al Rykhus, PALS; Ann Schroder, Inver Hills CC; Jennie Simning, Hennepin TC; Pam Sukalski, Southwest MN State; Tina Trullinger, Hibbing CC.
9:30 Welcome – Thomas Bremer, Executive Committee Chair
The agenda was approved.
The minutes were approved.
Stephen Elfstrand gave the Executive Director’s Report (pdf). Among the highlights were: new staff members Carrie Curie, Alex Kent, and Simon Mai; and projects that support the PALS’ mission statement of “Supporting the Life Cycle of Knowledge from Creation to Curation,” such as preserving research data via Islandora, open access publishing, library management systems, ERMs (there are about 30 OpenURL customers), discovery systems, and DAMs/IRs.
Strategic planning goals for ‘13-’15 include strengthening PALS’ financial position, providing outstanding ALEPH operations, delivering superior Evergreen services to a growing clientele, and migrating libraries from ALEPH to the next generation library system. Other goals were to provide superior discovery solutions, complementary products and services, digital asset management and support, to investigate open access publishing systems, and to cultivate an innovative and effective organization.
Income and expenses are in line with what is expected. PALS received the income it budgeted for and expensense have been in line with expectations. PALS has been growing its capital accounts and next gen library accounts, putting away a little money every year for hardware, especially for the ALEPH servers. Happily, the ALEPH servers continue to run well. Along with the next generation library system, there will be additional costs such as licenses, annual maintenance, training, etc.
Looking ahead, PALS income is projected to be pretty steady, with expenses rising due to increased costs for staff and software licenses. While there is a healthy surplus in FY13, a deficit is predicted for ‘15 (particularly with projected hardware expenses). Operational reserves are gradually shrinking and will disappear over time, depending on what happens with the next generation ILS.
A question from the committee: are the projections based on increases in user fees? Elfstrand replied, yes, a 3-4% increase, but PALS will try to hold that down to the minimum it can get away with. New product revenue has been a significant contribution. In the past six years they’ve raised $800,000 from Evergreen, IMLS grants, Bridge, etc. The ‘14 estimate for new product revenue is $350,000. North Dakota went with Primo and won’t be renewing VuFind, and the ILMS grant has ended. Evergreen brings in migration fees.
Some ALEPH highlights: v.21 release came with a problem. The fix is on the test server and will be fixed soon. PALS has figured out a way to use LDAP to ALEPH authentication via MnPALS Plus, so people can log in using their campus credentials.
A question from the committee about booking sparked a long discussion about MnSCU policies and software for booking library spaces. MnSCU is using an event resource management system to track the usage of all available spaces across campuses, but the system may not understand the distinct usages of library facilities. Todd Digby will talk to the project manager about how the system is being used with libraries.
Other updates: ECRL has upgraded to Evergreen 2.3. The Future ILS Task Force began meeting and a financial reserve has been started to pay for the next gen system. The Web Scale Delivery Task Force has completed an RFP, attended the demonstrations, and made a recommendation. Stephen Elfstrand thanked the libraries for their support and advocacy.
MnPALS Plus/VuFind. v2.0 is done; v.1 will go away on July 31. Version 3 will be released this summer. There is a lot that will change with v.3; PALS will test it and perhaps implement it next summer. One of the new features is that libraries will be able to do a lot more customization to their own pages.
Elfstrand wrapped up the last section of the Executive Director’s report with a display of Bridge, PALS’ implementation of VuFind as an interface to web-scale delivery at St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges.
The FY 2014 user fees were previously sent out to members. There is a 3% increase and different charges for libraries in the MnSCU system since MnSCU kicked in some money through each campus. The proposed participant charges are effective July 1, 2013. Many of the charges are the same; there is an addition for contributing records to webscale delivery services not otherwise part of the contract and charges for contributing records to VuFind webscale delivery (not MnPALS Plus). It was noted that a library would pay one or the other, but not both. The motion to approve the new participant charges and user fees was made, seconded, and approved.
There is a lot going on, both at the MnSCU campuses and the MnSCU system office. There is a new chancellor and a new vice-chancellor of academic affairs, who is transitioning out and being replaced by John O’Brien.
We will know within two weeks whether or not there is any MnSCU commitment to the webscale delivery/PALS Universe concept. There have been more staff reductions, and MnSCU is doing some real analysis on how they want to fund campuses. Funding is stable this year, but MnSCU is looking at alternative funding. The office is working on a report, due in June, on what the learning and academic environment of the future is going to look like, and what is the MnSCU of the future?
In other news, the state Senate passed the higher education omnibus bill with some performance measurements and holdbacks for MnSCU. The state House version adds money, but only to make sure that there are no tuition increases. MnSCU is also tracking textbook legislation and online class legislation. The #1 thing (along with webscale delivery): trying to get better data from MnSCU systems.
There were many questions from the MnSCU libraries, including if campuses can apply for leveraged equipment dollars and if the EPortfolio platform is dead. Toddy Digby replied that the EPortfolio platform is in a point of transition and that the central system office wants to get out of the business of running it. In response to a question, Digby replied that John O’Brien, the new MnSCU vice-chancellor of academic affairs, understands academic technology and libraries and is familiar with the MnSCU system.
Becky Ringwelski handed out a spreadsheet (pdf) with statistics on PALS libraries and electronic document delivery. She noted that there is a significant switch from Ariel in favor of OCLC Article Exchange; in fact, Minitex is the #1 user of OCLC Article Exchange in the country. Minitex has opened up their electronic licenses for journals and are seeing a lot of ILL use as a result; Minitex is also working on negotiating a contract with one publisher for the ILL sharing of e-books. There are many issues surrounding the project, including the mechanism for sharing. Other announcements: the Minitex ILL conference is coming up, as is the Ex Libris regional meeting in October. The Spring 2013 trials for e-resources are available through April 30, and the Digital Public Library is launching today, April 18, at 11 am. The Minnesota Digital Library participated by including an online exhibit.
The MnPALS Futures Interest Group Update has met once since the last Executive Committee meeting. The IG is running a book club to read and discuss topics related to the future of libraries; the next work will be the EduCause Horizons report. Michael Kirby facilitated a discussion on social media. Upcoming conference calls: Bobby Bothmann on mobile apps; Travis Dolenz on popular reading collections; and Randi Madisen on embedding librarians in online courses.
10:45 Web-Scale Discovery – Stephen Elfstrand
The Web-Scale Discovery Task Force recommends that PALS implement the Serials Solutions product Summon, using the VuFind product for the PALS Consortium. Elfstrand added that it was a unanimous decision for the TF, since Summon had the best price/performance breakdown, and at a minimum, PALS would subscribe to the API at somewhere around $200,000 a year.
Keith Ewing asked for a fuller description of the Summon package, and what the distinction was between Summon and EBSCO. Stephen Elfstrand said that Serials Solutions had the largest database (100,000 indexed journals v. EBSCO’s 18,000) and the most powerful API. Linda Richter added that Summon includes full-text searching of a library’s holdings via HathiTrust. EBSCO does not have this functionality (although it is planning it for the future). Summon will also index the union catalog at no charge and promises to do everything that we can do in MnPALS Plus in addition to indexing other types of repositories, including Dublin Core and MODS. Elfstrand displayed the spreadsheet of the pricing and grading, and is now asking MnSCU for the money to fund it. Many questions remain about funding, extract charges, and fees. Much will be determined during the contract negotiations.
A question was asked about how likely centralized funding was. Toddy Digby said that his sense-o-meter was saying there was a 20% chance of getting full funding; PALS might get partial funding. Stephen Elfstrand said that there was an obligation to try. Todd Digby said that perhaps this discussion about funding can be applied to the ALEPH of the future: can we reduce the costs for the next generation ILS so we can contribute more to other library services in the system? Stephen Elfstrand said that PALS is looking for some ways to “square the circle.” Can a group of large libraries commit to the project? PALS might be able to kick some money in as well.
After a discussion on the distribution of student technology fees, which varies by campus, Stephen Elfstrand said that there has to be a limit: PALS can’t spend its entire reserve on it. Linda Richter suggested that we need to find out which libraries would make a commitment to the PALS Universe/webscale discovery with a choice of 2-3 cost levels. Once we have some kind of commitment we could finalize the costs and begin contract negotiations.
Adam Marsnik moved that the Executive Committee ask PALS to survey PALS libraries about which libraries could commit to funding an implementation of a webscale delivery tool. After some discussion about timing the survey--should it wait until we know if PALS can get central funding from MnSCU?--the motion was seconded and approved.
12:00 Lunch (provided by PALS)
1:00 Future ILS Options – Johnna Horton
(The meeting reconvened at 1:00 as the snow began to fall heavily outside)
Johnna Horton presented an update on the work of the Future ILS Task Force and forwarded the link to the spreadsheet that the Task Force used to rate different next-generation ILSes. The spreadsheet is available at: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1kqdsFH6P55xnM9UCzSCGlKyPcs8kyO_-_Oue_qx6XJw/edit?usp=sharing
Horton pointed out that the Task Force is in a stalled position at the moment, since it is not finding any system that they’re really willing to gamble on as as consortium. The Task Force is keeping a close eye on the University of Minnesota’s experience with Alma, but Horton noted that there’s still no ILL module in Alma. Since the Task Force is still gathering information, it would like some input from members on what ILS functionality (or the lack thereof) is a “drop-dead deal-stopper”?
The discussion that followed centered on the ILS functionality that PALS libraries require and if there really is a one-size-fits-all ILS solution. Stephen Elfstrand pointed out some of the categories on the spreadsheet, such as a consortium-ready, multi-tenant architecture, and Al Rykhus pointed out that ILL is a Q4 product for Alma. Todd Digby asked if there are any statistics about what next-gen systems libraries are implementing, and Randi Madisen replied, citing a Library Journal article, that said the greatest number of libraries are choosing WorldShare. Keith Ewing added that many of these new systems are first-phase, “wait-and-see” projects.
Randi Madisen commented that many of these next generation systems seem to be workflow management systems. Linda Richter followed up on earlier comments about Alma and ILL to say that Alma has planned for ILL to be part of the system, and was curious to know if ILL is an essential part of an ILS or could ILL be used some other way? Becky Ringwelski said that Minitex has not seen a working ILL system for Alma yet. Currently Minitex uses several systems for ILL but if they can’t get a ILL functionality within Alma will probably use OCLC for interacting with libraries.
Stephen Elfstrand asked again if ILL functionality really needed to be within the ILS. Linda Richter asked if the consortium really needs one system for everyone, or can we contemplate a robust system for large libraries and a small system for small libraries? Keith Ewing said that, having survived the System X and the ALEPH implementations, the one-size-fits all approach hurts some libraries. Michael Kirby asked if VuFind would be able to search both systems if the consortium took this approach. Stephen Elfstrand replied yes, and Michael Kirby followed up by asking how the PALS office would feel about supporting two systems. Keith Ewing observed that the layering of ILSes with discovery systems these days is the really interesting thing that is going on, not the ILS user interface. Linda Richter replied that it would be accurate to say that these new systems do not have discovery components, and that the Task Force is looking at the library management parts such as circulation, acquisitions, workflow management, cataloging, ERMs. The Task Force is not yet at the point of evaluating open source v. commercial ILS costs, particularly since all of these next generation systems are still in development.
Thomas Bremer thanked the Task Force for its work.
2:00 Goals for PALS and the Executive Committee for 2013 – 2014
No outstanding issues were brought before the committee.
There were no new representatives to announce.
Sarah Quimby (Minnesota Historical Society) volunteered to be the secretary for 2013/2014. Vi Bergquist (St. Cloud TCC) was elected to chair-elect.
September 12 (at 7700 France Avenue South in Edina)
November 7 (conference call)
February 13 (conference call)
April 17, 2014 (Annual Meeting held in St. Cloud)
Due to the worsening weather, and in the absence of other business, the meeting was adjourned at 1:30.
Sarah Quimby, Secretary
Adobe Connect Session: https://umconnect.umn.edu/annualmtg041813/
Conference Phone Number: 507-389-1014
9:30 Welcome – Thomas Bremer, Executive Committee Chair
10:45 Web-Scale Discovery – Stephen Elfstrand, Web-scale Discovery Task Force
12:00 Lunch (provided by PALS)
1:00 Future ILS Options – Future ILS Task Force
2:00 Goals for PALS and the Executive Committee for 2013 – 2014
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