To provide oversight and guidance for the future development and refinement of MnPALS Plus
To conduct regular usability testing
John Daniels (Minneapolis Community and Technical College)
Martha Hardy (Metropolitan State University)
Perry Madden (PALS)
Pete McDonnell (Chair until December, 2009—Southwest Minnesota State University)
Melissa Prescott (Chair-elect—St. Cloud State University)
Evan Rusch (Minnesota State University, Mankato)
Al Rykhus (PALS)
Jennifer Sippel (Minneapolis Community and Technical College)
At the February 2009 User Council Meeting meeting, the Discovery Tool Task Force was disbanded. The Discovery Tool Task Force recommended that a Working Group be created to further refine, enhance, and test MnPALS Plus. The Working Group is intended to be distinct from any other task force that might be created to implement other discovery tools (such as federated search or open source link resolvers). The Discovery Tool Task Force also recognized that a smaller group would be better equipped to make quick and effective enhancements to the discovery tool. Currently, the group is comprised of six representatives from MnPALS member libraries, and two PALS staff representatives. The Discovery Tool Task Force also recommended that the Working Group use web meetings and the MnPALS Forums to conduct business; the Working Group maintains a workspace on the MnPALS Wiki at: https://wiki.mnpals.org/index.php/MnPALS_Plus_Working_Group
In August of 2009, a “MnPALS Plus version 2” was released, which incorporated desired upgrades to the functionality of MnPALS Plus. Kudos go to the PALS office for their work on putting these changes into effect.
Between April and October 2009, the Working Group has met via web conference four times, and has been slowly chipping away at the list of enhancements that were collected by PALS staff up to this point. (See: http://wiki.mnpals.org/index.php/MnPALS_Plus_To-Do_List_To_Prioritize) Also, the PALS representatives, Al Rykhus and Perry Madden, have greatly assisted the group in organizing and implementing changes. In May 2009, a list of priority changes was approved and was incorporated into MnPALS Plus version 2, including Interlibrary Loan, Course Reserves, spell-checking, and RefWorks functionality. Currently, the group is prioritizing the next round of enhancements. A MnPALS Forum topic thread has been created to allow libraries to provide input on desired changes to the discovery tool (https://forums.mnpals.org/index.php?topic=1066.0). Bug and problem reports are still encouraged to be reported to the MnPALS Support Center.
In December, Pete McDonnell will step down as Chair, and Melissa Prescott will begin convening the Working Group meetings. Another round of usability testing (such as that went into the development of the first SOLR discovery tool), still needs to be tackled. The group is also looking at making enhancements to date limiting and subject relevancy ranking. The group will continue to help guide the development of MnPALS Plus in a timely manner on behalf of libraries, and will communicate Working Group business through the MnPALS Forums.