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July 3, 2015

From the Chair of the Board

Happy hot July to you all. The Alliance continues to be red hot along with the weather! It is hard to believe but John Helmer is retiring in March and we are losing Anya Arnold in mid-August as she delivers a child and moves to Ohio where her husband has a wonderful new job. Congratulations to John and Anya! Needless to say, these departures have the Board actively planning and great progress is being made on both fronts. You'll hear more about that in the months to come. It will be difficult to replace our colleagues, but because of the hard work, expertise and commitment of both John and Anya, the Alliance is a nationally recognized organization. I have no doubt we will have many great candidates as we move ahead with recruitment.
Next week 360 colleagues will gather for the Summer Meeting. This is always a big event and represents a focal point for the year: a time to understand where we have come from and work on where we are going. Many of the sessions at the Summer Meeting will focus on aspects of the SILS. Last year at this time we could only imagine what a complete implementation would look like. While there is still much to do, everyone should take a moment at the Summer Meeting and reflect upon this major accomplishment. 
The Summer Meeting marks the end of my term as Chair of the Board and Council. Serving as chair has been an exciting and rewarding experience and I know the organization will be in good hands as Faye Chadwell, Oregon State University, steps in as chair for the coming year.
Jane Carlin, Chair of the Board and Council

Summer Meeting

The Orbis Cascade Alliance Summer Meeting will be held at:
  • Warner Pacific College:  2219 SE 68th Ave, Portland, OR 97215
  • Starts July 8 at 9am (coffee at 8:30) in the McGuire Auditorium.
  • You will be reminded as to what break-out sessions you signed up for.
  • Parking on campus is free.
It is going to be very warm over this next week. Please dress accordingly and bring refillable water bottles. There will be water stations at the Library and McGuire Lobby.

All this and more available on the Summer Meeting webpage.

Please feel free to contact Elizabeth Duell if you have any questions.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Program Updates

Collaborative Workforce

The Collaborative Workforce team continued conversations regarding annual goals including paths forward for developing a training program, documentation infrastructure, facilitating communication, and the collaborative workforce model.

Summer Meeting:
The Technical Services Working Group took the lead in arranging for speakers at the Tech Services in Alma Lightning Round session at the summer meeting.
  • Tami Wilkerson (OHSU): Managing sets and running jobs
  • Bob Thomas (WWU): Normalization rules and holdings records
  • Kyle Banerjee (OHSU): Best Practices from Community Zone Record Quality Task Group
  • Dusty Gorman (Puget Sound): Creating fiscal reports in Analytics
  • Joe Kiegel (UW):  Publishing to OCLC – A Progress Report from UW
  • Shannon Eagles (Chemeketa): How to take inventory using Alma
  • Michelle Weston (WWU): Working with the E-resource activations task list
We also hope you can join us for the Supporting Collaborative Work: Technical Services Working Group session for an opportunity to share your ideas on how we can support your work.

In July, the team will be gathering input from other programs and teams regarding documentation needs and use cases. CWT will use this information to prioritize infrastructure requirements.

The Analytics Fundamentals training session was so popular at the Summer Meeting we ran out of space! We will be providing a webinar version of this training later this summer as well as developing more advanced training on Analytics. Selected other sessions from the Summer Meeting will also be available in webinar format later in the summer.

Content Creation & Dissemination

Summer Meeting: CCD Representatives and Team Meeting Agenda
Chair: Trevor Bond, Washington State University
Team members: Mark Dahl (Council Liaison), Lewis & Clark; Karen Bjork, Portland State University; Eva Guggemos, Pacific University; Ann Lally, University of Washington; Maija Anderson, OHSU; Friday Valentine, Chemeketa Community College
Staff: Jodi Allison-Bunnell, CCD Program Manager

  • Introductions
  • Overview of Team's charge and goals for FY16
  • Review of roles of Team members and Representatives
  • Discussion of Team involvement and working groups for year:
    • Archival Collection Management Working Group (already charged and working)
    • EAD Database Working Group (including short overview of Archives West redesign)
    • Digital Content Working Group (may be more than one division; may be joint group with other Teams)
    • Digital Preservation Working Group
    • Exploration Working Group (collection sharing, OERs, data sets)
    • For each: The Team will provide a document with a short background statement and draft charge
Launch of Archives West
The Archives West site launched on July 1! This substantial revision of the Northwest Digital Archives site includes improved search precision, faceting of search results, revised display of search results, a substantially changed approach to browsing by institution and subject, better links to digital objects, clearer institutional identity, improved contact information to facilitate distance use of collections, and a new name and graphic identity that better capture the purpose and scope of the site and makes the Alliance identity clear. 

Discovery & Delivery

We are entering a historic week. On December 8, 2008 NRE was turned on for all members of the Alliance. It was the same week as a snow storm in which many of the libraries were closed down or had very minimal staff. 

In the beginning of NRE:
  • there was no barcode tracking
  • we had to write B and L numbers on the slips
  • the system was slow
  • the queues were confusing - there was no customization
  • reports were lacking 
  • time-stamps  were in East-coast time  
  • there would be "stuck" request
  • the system would lose requests in the void
  • the system would go down for no reason and would stay down for up to 6 hours
  • there was no way to turn off circulation integration
  • circulation integration would only try once before it would "fail on" to the the next library
  • there was such a high level of requests failing that we made it a policy never to charge an Alliance library for returnable ILL items
  • support for NRE issues was slow and sometimes unhelpful 
Over the years of NRE the Summit Planning and Operations Team (SPOT) worked with OCLC to correct these issues and many more. There are currently 9 other consortia that are using NRE some small and some very large state groups, and all of them have benefited from work we did on the system. 

Remember, we were the first and sometimes being first means we have to roll with more uncertainty. What has been proven is that we can and have overcome great difficulty with grace. We maintained good working relationships with everyone involved. The Summit community became very strong in the last 6 years and I know as we look ahead the Discovery & Delivery Community will become very strong as well. 

June 30, 2015 was the very last day that NRE will be available. Take a moment and say goodbye.  

Shared Content

It may be summer vacation for many, but the Shared Content program is humming with activity! 

The Alliance's e-resources staff are leading a pilot to test centralized subscription documentation and streamline the renewal process. Phase 1 feedback led to modifications for Phase 2, which will be implemented with the September renewals. Thanks to all of the e-resources contacts for rolling with the changes and providing useful feedback.

The DDA e-book service returned to normal on July 1 with the new fiscal year. Purchasing is on again, and the E-book Working Group is strategizing for the upcoming year. Details will be provided at the summer meeting session.

The Shared Content Team representatives will receive further details, but there will again be an annual DDA title removal process. This process accomplishes two goals: 1) It keeps the service on budget, and 2) It reacts to publisher changes that affect the availability of their titles. Title lists and timelines will be distributed to the reps in the coming days.


The Systems Team and Systems institutional representatives will meet at the Summer Meeting on July 9 from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM. This will be the Systems Open Call for July. Monthly call recordings for GoToMeeting-based systems are posted to the Systems Team web page. As noted in last month's update, Wade Guidry is chairing an Alma Enhancements Working Group that's coordinating Alliance voting for the first-ever user groups-led Alma enhancement process. The group created a voting recommendation and the first round of voting was completed in early June, and the results, with institutions anonymized, have been posted to the Systems Team web site. These results illustrate the positive impact of coordinated voting. The Alma user groups are currently working with Ex Libris on identifying the difficulty for requests that received a high number of votes from the Alma community. The final round of Alma enhancement voting is expected to be conducted in August, at which time the working group will create and distribute a second voting recommendation to the ELUNA representative at each Alliance institution. 

The Primo enhancements process for 2015 has started. Some information on this enhancement cycle has been sent to Alliance team leaders and the institutional ELUNA representatives. 

The Systems Team has formed a Service Level Agreement (SLA) Working Group to monitor Alma and Primo performance. The group intends to produce quantitative and qualitative summaries of services performance compared with the SLA that's in the Alliance's contract with Ex Libris. This group met for the first time on June 19 and plans to perform an analysis of second quarter performance data. 

For next week's Alliance Summer Meeting: Two Ex Libris representatives will attend in person: John Larson, Alma consultant, and Brian Noone, Tier I Support Manager. Please look for John and Brian at the meetings - this one-on-one contact is an important benefit of the ExL participation. 

The Alliance will begin monthly Priority Support Issues meetings with Ex Libris. The Alliance-side attendees will include one representative from each team and program managers. A set of strategically-important Network Zone issues from the Customer Success Program channel (which is being retired) has been mapped to the Center of Excellence. The remaining issues, and new issues surfaced by the Alliance, will be addressed in these monthly meetings. Brian Noone will be the Ex Libris-side lead and ExL specialists will join meetings as needed. The first Priority Support Issues meeting will be an in-person meeting, on July 9 at the Summer Meeting. 

The Systems Team and Systems institutional representatives will meet at the Summer Meeting on July 9 from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM. This will be the Systems Open Call for July. Monthly call recordings for GoToMeeting-based systems are posted to the Systems Team web page.   

Profile of Rachel Bridgewater

Each month we will be featuring a profile of someone in the Alliance. If you have a colleague you think we should know about, please send in suggestions.

Rachel Bridgewater and son
Name, positionRachel Bridgewater, Faculty Librarian, Portland Community College

City of residencePortland, Oregon 
Favorite thing about where you currently live
At this point I've lived in Portland longer than I've lived anywhere else so it's difficult to point to one or two favorite things. My friends are here, my work is here, my son was born here. When I leave Portland, I miss the food, beer, and movie theaters. When I first moved here from Boston the relatively slower pace really drove me bonkers, now I think it's one of the things I appreciate most about the city.

Favorite outside of work activity?
I recently started training in Brazilian jiu jitsu and spend a lot of my free time either at the gym or nursing the bruises and scrapes I get there. I enjoy sewing and watching movies, even better if I'm doing both of those things at the same time. I also like to get outside and hike or walk around in the city. 

Honestly, I'm kept pretty busy with Legos, blocks, and trips to the park as a single mom to my almost 4 year old son, Abbott, which I'm fortunate to find quite pleasurable.  
What are you most proud of while working at the Alliance?
I'm so incredibly proud to have been involved with the SILS migration as chair of the Training Working Group (TWG). I was consistently inspired by the generosity, intelligence, and pure stamina I encountered time and time again as I interacted with people in all functional areas from all of the Alliance institutions. It was a sincere privilege to get to work with the people I worked with -- the members of TWG, the I-Team, the institutional leads, the incredibly generous volunteer trainers, and the people who attended trainings.  
What are you excited about for the coming year?
At the end of June I leave for a month of traveling in Europe! We will stay with friends in the Loire Valley in France and travel to other locations from there (Budapest, Croatia, Hamburg) to visit friends and family. This is my son's first big trip, he flew out yesterday with his dad and I am told he handled the 11 hour flight like a champ! Looking ahead to next year, the PCC Cascade library, where I work, is being renovated and will be closed all year. I'm really excited to explore the possibilities this opens up for us to provide reference services out of difference spaces on the campus and to forge new relationships. My wonderful colleagues share this excitement and I'm so proud and happy to be part of a team that looks on a year-long closure with energy and optimism rather than with dread!

Ex Libris Product Testing

Ex Libris has recently initiated a renewed interest in ALMA product testing. Carmit Marcus of Ex Libris, is leading this effort and has reached out to very large academic libraries in the US, Canada, Europe and Australia that have been on ALMA for over a year or more. A key focus for Alma product development in 2016 will be improving Alma usability. The goal is to review usability pain points at select institutions, bring those pain points forward to Ex Libris Development, and then have Development work through eliminating those pain points as part of the 2016 development cycle. Additionally, a consultant with experience in usability will be brought on board.
UW was one of the libraries contacted and Sion Romaine of UW provides the following update:

As part of this focus, Carmit Marcus, Ex Libris” Director of Product Management, met with University of Washington Libraries staff on June 24 to review Alma usability issues. Together, the group reviewed and walked through workflows in all Alma functional areas where usability could be improved, including providing more consistent labelling and placement of action menu options throughout the interface, eliminating redundant confirmation and pop-up screens, improving response time, and streamlining workflow steps to reduce the likelihood of ‘death by a thousand clicks’. Carmit had recently met with staff at the University of York in the United Kingdom, and noted that they discussed many of the same usability issues as the UW. Carmit will also conduct similar site visits with the University of Minnesota and the University of Manitoba in mid-July. UW staff agreed that the meeting was extremely useful in surfacing issues that do not break workflows, but which hinder both speed of processing and the rate at which users become comfortable navigating Alma.

Editor's Note

Please send any feedback, thoughts, or suggestions for future content to Cassie Schmitt.

Check out the Alliance News on the web for future reference.