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Notes of the Orbis Cascade Alliance Board Meeting #36

Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 10:00am-4:00pm

University of Portland Library

Board Members Present:

Bagley, Baird, Carlin, Chadwell, Corkrum, Greenberg, Helmer, Johnson, Popko, Schaffer (afternoon)


Trevor Bond, Chair CCD Team

Kathi Fountain, Alliance staff

Natalie Beach, via telephone representing Shared Content Team

Mark Dahl, Council liaison to CCD Team

Updates from the Executive Director (Agenda item 2)

MOU for Data Sharing

Content Summary:

Still not ready to be shared with Council for local consultation.

Primo at UW

Content Summary

For main campus, still presenting Primo as secondary, although Law and Bothell are using Primo as the default search engine. UW stills feel strongly about need for change, but Primo not on the same development schedule and pace as Alma. UW has high standards that must be met if they were to consider a transition mid-year.

Board Discussion Highlights

Many Alliance members would like to know more about the limitations that UW finds unacceptable so they can appreciate their decisions. Other member might also use this information to defend a local decision to implement Primo fully if/when our users challenge us with the fact that UW has not done so.

EBSCO and Ex Libris

Content Summary

We asked for agreement and implementation of access to all our licensed content though Primo in September 2014 for the beginning of most of our fall academic sessions. The parties continue to advocate for their positions and apparently continue to talk at the highest levels.

Board Discussion Highlights

Next steps? Board member recommends a letter and a website because we’re all watching the September deadline that they apparently agreed to. We need to maintain our credibility in the face of all our past demands and communications. Perhaps we ask them for an alternative calendar for our consideration.

Summit 3

Content Summary

Executive Director is hearing good news; Alliance staff very positive. Some deliverables are already in hand and ready for October 2014 implementation. Ex Libris is still aiming for late-January 2015 or February 2015 for full implementation.

Primo and Alma Sandbox

Content Summary

Getting Ex Libris to provide this was a major win for us to get a test environment. Our contract does not guarantee such a capability, but the spirit of the contract motivated Ex Libris to provide this for us. We have a premier Primo sandbox in the midst of a highly competitive product development environment. For Alma we got four additional sandboxes to test Summit 3, bringing us to a total of six.

SILS project break

Content Summary

In retrospect, Executive Director wishes he’d but in some scheduled breaks to give the implementers in C1-C3 a breather. Because of troubles experienced in implementing Cohort 2, Cohort 4 will be managed differently: we’ll take a little 10-day break from project and team activities.


Content Summary

Through our consortial membership, all our members can participate, but we have reduced voting rights on enhancements – only one vote -- because of that consortium membership.

Board Discussion Highlights

Some think it worth establishing more individual memberships so we have more votes, and JH recommends that if we do so we might want to coordinate our voting. Right now, we have a kind of important relationship and status with Ex Libris. As we evolve and other customers occupy our position, we might want and have to work more diligently to influence the enhancements agenda.

Recruitment underway

Content Summary

Program Manager applications due in October; expect to have it filled January 1, 2015, or shortly after. Prefer Eugene work location, but willing to work with a distant employee. Michele Bagley leading the search process.

ER Specialist applications close October 6. Keith Folsum chairing the process. Hasn’t selected a search committee. Hopes person can start mid-November, with Greg Doyle staying until December to provide overlap.

Board Discussion Highlights

Nature of background checks and confidentiality expectations that apply to all UO positions and employees.

SPOT Update

Content Summary

Acknowledged that the Summer ’14 update linked to the Board agenda is significantly out of date.

Finance Team Topics – Shared Work (Agenda item 3.1)

Guiding Principles for Shared Work

Content Summary

Bagley walked us through the documents. The group built the models – one for Governance and one for Operations – around new team structure, with different levels of involvement representing differing levels of governance, i.e., Leadership and Participation.

Board Discussion Highlights

Governance Model:

Need a little more elaboration than the doc has now to understand the 60/40 split that we’ve used for other many Alliance sharing environments. This is designed to be a kind of common benchmark against which current and future participation will be compared.

Using 60/40, each institution will be assigned a calculated number. Consider a formula – i.e., ratio of factors -- in which student FTE is not used or less weighted and that library staff FTE is included. Low employee-to-student ratio locally can lead to a double-whammy when we’re asked to contribute to Alliance Governance or Operations based on our student size.

Under any formula model, some people repeatedly try to take on governance positions but are not elected or appointed. How do we manage that willingness in establishing success at achieving its target participation? There is an expectation that a new annual report with goals, targets, and progress will stimulate Council members to take appropriate actions to involve more staff in Governance roles.

Board Discussion Highlights

Operational Model:

Desire to compensate member libraries for work contributed to Level O1, maybe also at Level O2.

Could there be a blurring or a blending of one person’s role that crosses Governance and Operations? We seem to agree that this could happen.

Would this be implemented differently for required actions and/or opt-in activities of the Alliance? Do we need to differentiate?

Suggestion that for presentation to Council the group offer an example or two of how the Criteria for Determining Work Assignments would be developed to illustrate more clearly.

Do we need to address potential for under-performance of an institution’s employee? i.e., Do we need an assessment system for those engaged in collaborative workforce activities? Perhaps a feedback mechanism from the “chair” to employee’s institution? Reminder that we all might benefit from template language that asserts the principle that “the work of the Alliance is our work” and is not separate from and subservient to local work. E.g., what does it mean to be a Collection Development Manager not merely in one’s local institution but to be a Collection Development Manager in an Alliance Library?

Also reminder that having established internal expectation for jobs contributing to the Alliance we also need to convey this relevance to our institution’s administration and leadership.

Maybe we want to include a travel or transportation recognition because of the extra time and cost that some have to bear in order to participate effectively in Alliance collaborative activities. Analogously, can we include recognition of “cash” expenditures by an institution in its participation? Some of our member institutions provide a travel stipend for designated cooperative work.

Does this apply only to those activities that we all participate in or can it apply to opt-in activities? The group already discussed and thinks it can apply to opt-in work if we change the base from 37 libraries to the number that are participating in that specific opt-in activity.


Board prefers to invite, encourage Council in November to contribute to a less well-formed document rather than to a complete, detailed one; do not want to give the appearance of forcing a Board position on the Council. We’ll fine-tune the current documents a little, and we’ll develop some prompting questions: E.g., lay out a sample scenario; add specific dates by which the 5-year average will be determined; designate Year 1. But still we want to elicit open Council contributions rather than appear to force a Board position on the group.

Team Transition (Agenda item 4)

All Teams

Content Summary

Helmer distributed a Gantt chart that projects team cessation, formation, and activation, for the period September 2014 through June 2015.

Shared Content Team Annual Goals

Content Summary

Beach joined meeting via telephone and walked the Board through the document.

Board Discussion Highlights

Board expressed general agreement and acceptance. Some feedback from Board members that was submitted most recently was reviewed, was not included, but could be picked up as ideas or goals the new Team can review. Also likely that some of the Board suggestions will be represented in the scheduled report to the Board in February 2015.

Skills and strengths desired are some of the same skills desired in CDMC and ERP members: e-resource management; e-resource licensing experience; experience with shared print acquisition; preservation; knowledge of the evolution in collection development, local and consortial; data preparation and analysis experience to help us tap potential of Ex Libris. “Leadership” is a crucial and highly desired capability.


Board approved the goals for this new team. The Board will work electronically to solicit, vet, and approve the nominations. Want to launch it in November. Expect to present to Council as presumptively final and ask for thoughtful nominations.

Content Creation & Dissemination Team Goals

Content Summary

Bond provided a formal presentation, walking the Board through the revised draft, illustrated with PPT slides of many institutions’ digital libraries and repositories, advocating for the many benefits and opportunities presented by our special and primary source collections, held by all our libraries. The team recommends greater aggregation of our member’s digital collections. To do so, we need metadata standards for both cultural heritage objects and born-digital items. If we do both, we can become service hub for DPLA to serve Alliance members and other institutions. October face-to-face meeting has as its top agenda item the discontinuance of current structure and governance for NWDA and the creation of new ones. Dahl noted that Alliance members have not hitherto attempted to aggregate their various digital collections.

Board Discussion Highlights

Are there staffing and financial implications for being a DPLA Service Hub? Yes. Depends on how we structure and how we get involved. Much of the necessary infrastructure is already built; we just need to modify and harvest. Staffing could be max 0.5FTE, depending on whether it’s centralized in Alliance or distributed to a Working Group.

Board asked for justification and rationale for being part of the DPLA. UW signing contract to be content hub, but would be limited to its own material. Bond advocated for tapping into DPLA being a “hot” topic and our effort to participate would contribute to our desire to aggregate members’ content. PacNW should be represented and a player in this evolving national program. Could also have a productive feedback loop letting us put our digital stuff back into the Primo & Alma environments. Alliance in the only organization in the PacNW in a position to work on this. Several comments encouraging discovery through Primo even more important than discovery through DPLA.

Board member is struck by high priority goals for “a later date.” Expressed a strong interest in sharing of physical items in addition to the digital aggregation. Wants to see this kept on the front burner. Bond says this topic was pushed back because CCDT wanted to identify goals that would benefit all Alliance members immediately. Recognize need to balance access v. stewardship, but there are examples out there of successful sharing of such materials. Should we start out informally, without using the Courier service? What other steps could we take to stimulate sharing in an environment of trust? Maybe we offer our resources with our own people, who accompany the material and contribute to a class presentation or research appointment. Seek to open up access to these items by marketing them; allow a Summit request, even if marked non-circ; let owning institution and requestor’s institution negotiate a possible “loan.” In short, let resulting demand drive our policies and practices to make them available. Bond reminds us that some Special Collection centers impose a fee structure on use or services as a means of self-support; perhaps we need to seek some modifications to that.

Board member interested in seeing more attention to research data repositories, curation, & management and to open-access educational digital resources, educational textbooks, etc. Bond speculates this could be the focus of a CCDT Working Group, or a Council discussion related to research data curation and use.

Bond thinks there is pent-up demand for, and interest in, these activities. What might be needed is a set of structures that could help facilitate and expedite that demand.

Speculation on overlap or interaction between some of these ideas in CCDT with the current or future goals and activities of the Shared Content Team.

NWDA future:

Content Summary

Bond identified this as one of the most challenging aspects of this Team’s work. NWDA members rely on certain aspects of the current NWDA, but we need to enlarge and mix it up a little, stirring up energy. He views CCDT’s role as teasing apart the current components for NWDA into different, logical part of the Alliance team structure. Helmer reports the idea is to re-name the NWDA database to Archives West, develop a funding model that allows Alliance members to participate as well as support non-Alliance members. NWDA is 60% Alliance members and 40% from outside the Alliance.

Board Discussion Highlights

If these changes proposed for NWDA are successful, will it reduce the incentive for an Alliance member to pay dues to belong? This is especially challenging if this content is fully integrated into Alma processing and Primo discovery. Board member suggests part of CCDT work is to develop a new business plan that reflects these changes. Dahl notes that current NWDA Finding Aid database and the access to the Archivists Toolkit are currently crucial resources to participants. Until some combination of Alma, Primo, and/or Rosetta can accommodate our digital collections, access to these two tools might be justification for keeping NWDA (or successor) membership. Helmer reports that CCDT is supported by only 0.5FTE of Alliance staff, compared to 1 or 2 FTE to other teams. Thus, there are limited staff resources to be re-allocated.


CCDT will meet in next couple weeks. Team incorporate much of the Board discussion in a revised document, and attempt to send a revised document in advance of Council.


Carlin proposed creating small working groups for each of these to generate fine-tuned revisions to these original charges. Not trying to have something ready for Council in Nov but ready for the December Board conference call.

Collaborative Workforce Team

Board Discussion Highlights

Ensure work of CTST is appropriately carried over to the new CWFT. Maintain a focus or emphasis on progress to-date, perhaps by naming Alma as the basis for its future success and formally establishing a Working Group in one of the new teams. This work needs an explicit “home,” perhaps the Systems Team. Helmer notes that the different teams have a different sense of, or need for, explicit assurance of continuity in the future. Board seems to want to take a few explicit steps to reassure the CTST of this. Two Board members feel the CWFT is still a little soft and undeveloped, and as a result, work that has been discussed in CTST might be best addressed in multiple venues with the other new teams.

The discussion seems to be prompting Board to revise one or more draft charges before we attempt to name members and develop formal goals. There’s an interest in making goals more outcomes-oriented, not “tool-oriented” (i.e., viewing Alma and Primo as tools that lead us to desired outcomes).


Bagley volunteered to lead a small work group to refine and develop the CWFT, in consultation with selected staff from Alliance members, and to develop a set of annual goals for the coming year. Board member suggested a goal should be to review the activities and potential of the former CTST to be sure they are appropriately distributed to the correct team. Bob Thomas, Rachel Bridgewater, Susan Hinken, Ben Hunter, and Mariah Wagner were nominated.

System Team

Board Discussion Highlights

Perhaps Systems Team could have a member that also is a member of one of the other teams, able to understand topics, concerns, ideas, and the system(s) that is necessary to achieve those outcomes. Such a structure could ensure coordination, support for identified needs or opportunities, etc. Seemed to resonate with many around the table. Will members be able to commit to service on two teams simultaneously. Alternative could be a Systems Team Working Group designed to have expertise deep and broad enough to liaise effectively with other teams and to be sensitive to infrastructure and outcomes needed. Perhaps the System Team is non-collaborative, but it has work groups that are collaborative with the other teams.


Corkrum volunteered to work, under someone else’s overall direction, to refine and work on goals. Various Board members suggested individuals from their institutions and specific Council members, and also sought a volunteer/recruit from the current Board. Being unsuccessful, idea was floated to delay the creation, charge, and goals of Systems Team until after the other teams are launched. Agree to put this in the Board’s Parking Lot and address between now and its projected launch of May 2015.

Discovery & Delivery Team


Decided to remove the names of specific application, tools, or products from the goals document. Efforts to name members elicited the following suggestions or nominations: Anya Arnold, Jennifer Ward, Rebecca Marrall, Leslie Lowry. How far should we push on, and assign to this group, an effort to regularize and normalize Primo and its interface? There’s support for trying to re-assert normalization. There’s a plea for common functionality, even if we don’t seek a common visual appearance, name, colors, brand. Baird volunteered to convene such a group and bring to the Board’s conference call on Dec 4 a draft of initial goals, which the Board will critique and revise.

Board members acknowledge that perhaps we have unrealistic expectations that we can arrive at a common agreement or standard for Discovery as we have developed over years in Tech Services, Collection Development, or Resource Sharing.

Finance Team Topics – Membership Fee Projection (Agenda item 3.2)

Membership Fee Projections

Content Summary

Helmer presented document that he and Debi Place developed in response to discussion at July Council meeting. It is acknowledged by Bagley, Treasurer, to be a draft.

Board Discussion Highlights

Even acknowledging it is a draft, will this information answer all the questions of Council or actually trigger even more questions? Some Council members asked for membership projections earlier so could feed into annual budget requests. It would be helpful to report no increase or an anticipated specific increase to Council as early as possible. Board prefers that we only offer Option 2 because that adheres to our financial principles. We all acknowledge that it is more difficult to project increases on the other factors itemized at the bottom of the handout. Fountain reports that the eBook working group expects that project’s budget to be flat in the next fiscal year. Board member recommended revisions to the current document include at least an explanatory sentence on each of the factors at bottom of page.


Helmer and Bagley will draft text that provides context or explanation for each of the factors at the bottom of the page.

Alliance Human Resources Host (agenda item 5)

Content Summary

Corkrum provided background information. Recognition that as Alliance has evolved, we should consider alternatives to the historic model of Alliance employees being “hosted” as employees with the Univ of Oregon. Alliance has wrestled with a number of personnel relationships over the past five years or so, e.g., our inability to pursue grants on our own. Although moving our personnel out of the UO system was part of our thinking at that time, there were too many other matters that needed priority attention. For a while, we thought Reed College might be an HR home, but with a key retirement that is no longer an option. Corkrum identified other sticking points that we object to in the current MOU. On the flip side, Alliance employees are afforded the benefits associated with a large academic institution. We currently pay $3K/year to UO to administer our personnel. Corkrum recommends a serious look at our options and a possible path for transition to another model.

Board Discussion Highlights

Alliance intellectual property rights are signed away; might the UO seek to exercise control over “our” intellectual property? We pay all salary & benefits and UO administers it; inadequate control over our own personnel; nature of the employment contract, 1-year for JH and union requirements. Benefits contributions are high, but the benefits are good from the employee perspective. Each Alliance employee would be affected differentially by such a change. If we go wholly on our own, it introduces a host of legal and fiduciary responsibilities for the Board. Suggestion that we issue RFI or RFP to elicit opportunities from the companies or cooperatives that exist to serve non-profits with needs like ours.


Board endorsed the Chair’s proposal to empanel a 3-member group, a mix of Board and Council, to further investigate our options. The group’s work product would consist of an environmental scan, a list of alternatives, and a white paper delivered to the Board by its March 2015 meeting. Carlin and Helmer will appoint the members. Board member recommends we focus on people in Oregon because that’s where the Alliance is incorporated and a cross-state effort would be much more complicated.

Agenda for November Council Meeting

The hour being late, Carlin offered to work on this with Helmer, reflecting the discussions and decisions of this Board meeting.

Reminders on Upcoming Meetings

Board conference call in December

Board full meeting in February 2015 at University of Puget Sound

November Council at Eliot Center in Portland

March 2015 Council meeting at Seattle University

Respected submitted,

John Popko, Secretary