1. Web Scale Discovery Task Force - Bobby Bothmann
The group was formed and met to examine the need for a web discovery tool and TO see if there was a consensus among the members. There was a survey of Deans/Directors/Coordinators in October. The majority of the responses were in favor of some sort of web scale discovery service. Most responses were from 2 and 4-year colleges; Bobby is not sure about the response from very small libraries, including the state agency libraries. It still isn’t clear whether those that already have a system would be willing to move to another system. The new RFP is based on the RFP done by Wisconsin libraries; much of the language is word-by-word. It’s been reviewed by MSU contract people. It’s ready to be released, with minor changes in language.
Vendor demonstrations would be open to all PALS members, in a virtual manner. It would be nice to have a recommendation ready for the Annual Meeting. It is a very short timeline, but that was the way it was done in WI. Stephen, “The point is to get the demonstrations over, and get the task force deliberating.”
Adam, “Is there a point where it could fall apart if there are not enough members to buy in?” Yes. Stephen said that we got on the list for web scale delivery within the MnSCU IT project list, so they hope to get some centralized money. If we don’t have centralized money, and no one has money to buy it, then it would not work. Stephen is hoping for full funding of the initial implementation of the project, plus some money for PALS to do development, training. PALS has asked for full funding with overhead. Hoping to have something in place by July of this year.
Within MnSCU documents, it will likely be listed as something like “Library Next Generation Discovery System.” It will be great if librarians would support the project during discussions with their CAOs.
2. MnPALS Future ILS Task Force Update – Johnna Horton
They have a Google docs spreadsheet comparing products. For some products, they have LOTS of information; for others, very little.
If they had to make a decision today, there is not a product with which they would be comfortable. Stephen concurs.
Tom: Is there a possibility that a better timeline could be established by the time of the Annual Meeting? Adam, we’re in sort of a waiting mode right now. By the Annual Meeting, there could be something very vague, like in the range of years predicted, not months. Johnna: we just don’t have an example of a vendor who is ready.
Stephen: In a year, the U of M will be up on ALMA, and many of the other vendors are expected to develop more mature systems. In about a year, there may be three or so systems that will be more ready.
Stephen: None of the systems are in tune with the linked data model yet. We could hang on to Aleph as long as possible (5 years?), hoping for the development of a next generation system based on a linked data model.You don’t want to migrate and then change the data.
3. MnPALS Futures Interest Group Update – Michael Kirby
Met once since last User Council meeting. Had a conference call last week to discuss linked data, open metadata registry. Michael will be hosting a conference call on social media on February 28. Michael did a breakout group at the User Group meeting, and there was interest in a conference call for those who were not able to attend. Hopefully there will be a FIG meeting early next month.
(Aside: Al Rykhus will be talking about VuFind implementation at the Macalester Technology Conference.)
4. Minitex Update – Valerie Horton
(Valerie was not present)
5. MnSCU Update – Todd Digby
PALS Universe Technology tool is still on the MnSCU IT priorities list, but we don’t know how much money will be allocated. It’s in the top 30 of the list.
As far as general funding for PALS, the allocation from MnSCU will likely remain the same. PALS will not get extra money, likely. MnSCU is going through strategic planning with high level folks to look at systems of the future. How does a system like MnSCU run a central system? A report will come out in December. Until then, they won’t be monkeying with PALS funding. It is unlikely they will be taking money away.
Todd is also working on a textbook project and video streaming to support classrooms. You could have your own YouTube type environment for the classroom.
Doesn’t know whether the ask for the discovery tool would be for long-term funding. Will it cover just the initial implementation, or include funding for long-term payment of extra costs? Adam emphasized that it will be a big component of library buy-in – whether they can afford it for only the first two years, or on an ongoing basis. Todd’s response is that they really have to wait to see what the costs will be.
They are working to strengthen their financial position. Reserves are being slowly depleted.
A goal: continue to provide outstanding Aleph operation and support. Make Evergreeen a real power in MN for library systems management for a segment of MN libraries.
Stephen: “Open access publishing is an area that PALS would like to explore. We need to stop doing all the work for commercial publishers and then turn around and pay for the journals and pay for the discovery service. PALS would like to get into this area. They’d like to see how difficult this area is.
There will be a v.21 minor release of Aleph; more than just patching, but not like a full-fledged release. There are some problems with ILL, however, that need to be resolved before PALS will move ahead. There is no install date so far.
They have developed a web booking software, and Stephen recommends it for saving staff time. People who use it really like it.
PALS is working on enabling the use of campus credentials instead of a library bar code for authentication.
Evergreen: They’ve put up a cool kids catalog.
They’ve set aside a reserve fund for future ILS activities.
VuFind now has a browse feature. Version 8 will be shut down on July 31.
Will you continue to use the name “MnPALS Plus?” Stephen, “I don’t know.” Should it be rebranded? It will become more than just an OPAC overlay. With the two panels does it become different than MnPALS Plus? The perfect idea did not come out!
Version 2.0 of VuFind is in beta. A demo version will be released, and talks with user groups will be started.
There was a demo of the St. Olaf/Carleton “Bridge Squared” tool. (Perhaps the similar tool could be called “MnPALS Squared”?)
4. User Council Report to the Executive Committee – Michael Kirby
Piggybacking on the upcoming UMWUG meeting on October 28-29 at the Radisson Hotel in Roseville, it makes sense for the MnPALS User Group meeting to be held at the same location on October 30. The User Council agreed to charge a $20 conference fee for the first time. (Secretary comment – cheap!) Tom: Thanks to the User Council for arranging this.
5. Revised FY 2014 User Fees Draft Document – Stephen Elfstrand
The actual vote comes at the Annual Meeting. Stephen: “When I looked at the implications on some campuses, it seemed disproportionate. Keeping the average of 3% rather than 4% helps this a bit.”
6. Participant Charges Document – Stephen Elfstrand
A couple of things related to discovery are important to discuss. Usually there is a cost for the initial extraction. If there are many libraries with ongoing extractions, that is an issue. Stephen suggests an annual fee.
With a VuFind web scale discovery option, they need to set up virtual hosts, and it needs to be redone every time there is an upgrade to VuFind. An annual subscription fee is reasonable.
A library would not have to pay both fees, but just one.
The fees will be adopted at the Annual Meeting.
Stephen commented that there are no surprises in the end of second quarter financials.
Upcoming issue: The servers are more than five years old and reaching end of life. They share data storage with Minnesota State University, Mankato; the actual Aleph servers are owned by PALS. There may be third party service providers that could be used for maintenance. Stephen commented that he wouldn’t want to spend a lot of money on new Aleph servers at this point.
7. MnPALS Future ILS Recommendation
The Future ILS Task Force will have more information for us, about where we are headed in the next year or two.
8. Webscale Discovery RFP
When the Annual Meeting is held, we will probably have a recommendation from the Web Scale Discovery Task Force. The demonstrations will be held before the Annual Meeting, so they won’t be part of that day’s program.
Robbie moved that PALS proceed with the RFP for the web discovery tool. Kathleen seconded. Approved.
9. Annual Meeting
Discuss some of the bigger-picture decisions that will need to be made for a future ILS. Cloud based or local? Can we all call our vendors? What is PALS role as an intermediary? What do we need? What can’t we live without? We could have small groups and discuss various issues. We want to make it interesting and fun and worth attending.
There will be several new deans/directors at the Annual Meeting. A special invitation is extended to our new colleagues!