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From the Chair of the Board & Executive Director

We hope September finds you well and enjoying (or preparing for) the new school year. Over that past month the Board has made progress on several fronts:

Executive Director search  
The search committee has met a couple of times, talked with John Helmer, and is considering employing the help of a search firm. Betsy Wilson (UW) is serving as chair along with members Faye Chadwell (OSU), Lynn Baird (UI), Scot Harrison (St. Martin”s), Jeffrey Gayton (SOU), and Cassie Schmitt (Alliance staff).

Membership applications
The Board appointed two teams to review membership applications from Whitworth University in Spokane and Clackamas Community College in Oregon City. Jane Carlin (Puget Sound), Chris Shaffer (OHSU), Dalia Corkrum (Whitman), Faye Chadwell (OSU), and John Helmer will be visiting Whitworth in early November. Donna Reed (PCC), Chris Shaffer (OHSU), Mark Dahl (L&C), Michelle Bagley (Clark) and John Helmer expect to visit Clackamas sometime this fall.

HR task force
An HR Task Force composed of Faye Chadwell (OSU), Adriene Lim (UO), Dalia Corkrum (Whitman), and John Helmer is researching options for how Alliance staff are employed and how payroll and benefits are administered. We have been fortunate to have the University of Oregon serve has our HR host for more than 20 years but it is time to look at the full range of options for the future. We might ask UO to continue or it might be time to move in another direction. The task force is on track to deliver preliminary findings to Council in November. 

Data sharing agreement
John Helmer is shepherding our effort to formalize and safeguard the sharing of data in the Shared ILS.  This effort requires technology that anonymizes data but also legal agreements that allow staff to share work while ensuring the privacy of patron data. This is a challenging initiative that requires legal consultation with the states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho and, ultimately, individual consultation with all 37 members. WSU is helping with the current phase of this effort and we expect to make progress in September. 

Summer Meeting Program Committee
The Summer meeting was a big hit (have a look at the fun “Zine participants created) and it is time to get started thinking about the next one. Faye Chadwell (OSU) is forming a group to plan next year”s program to be held once again at Warner Pacific University.

That is probably enough for now!  Have a great fall and thank you for all your hard and creative work.
 
Faye Chadwell, Chair of the Board and Council
John Helmer, Executive Director

New Web Resources


Check out the new webpage detailing all our email lists! Any person at a member institution can be added to an open discussion list. If you see one that peaks your interest, contact Elizabeth Duell.

Program Manager Search

The Alliance is recruiting for a Program Manager! This position reports to the Executive Director and oversees both our discovery and delivery services. Thus, they are the lead for Primo and Summit and provide leadership for other discovery and delivery initiatives within the Alliance.
 
Position announcement
Closing date: September 28, 2015

John Helmer is search chair along with members Bill Kelm (WU), Jennifer Ward (UW), Kelly V. Peterson-Fairchild (OIT), and Al Cornish (Alliance staff). Have a look, tell your friends, get the word out, and feel free to contact John Helmer with any questions.

Consortia & Alma

We could not have known so when we chose Alma three years ago but it has clearly become a hot choice among library management systems. According to Marshall Breeding Alma is now the second most used ILS among members of the Association of Research Libraries. That is pretty remarkable for a new system. Alma is also making inroads in the world on consortia. The Alliance is continually contacted by consortia that are contemplating a shared ILS project. In the last few months we have learned that the California State University (CSU) system, Galileo in Georgia, the Minnesota Bridge Consortium, BIBSYS in Norway, and the Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum (WHELF) have all chosen Alma. Our sister consortium to the south, CSU is huge! 23 campuses, 460,000 students, and 47,000 faculty and staff. Even closer to home, the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) has selected Alma for 30 of Washington's 34 public community and technical colleges as has the WIN Library Network in Spokane. Among those currently running selection processes, we have heard from OhioLINK, CARLI in Illinois, the USMAI Library Consortium in Maryland, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, Harvard College (a de facto consortium), and the Joint University Librarians Advisory Committee (JULAC) in Hong Kong.  We don’t know which systems these consortia will choose, but Alma is clearly in the running.

Why should we care who else uses Alma? Well, it is definitely helpful to have the product we chose become a broader success and bring resources to development. More than this, having consortia follow our lead means Alma will develop more quickly and with consortia in mind. The Alliance is in communication with these other consortia and might even meet as a group in the future. Finally, it is just great to know we played a leadership role, came in on the ground floor of a hot product, and influenced development. We are clearly in good company and will benefit from knowing many colleagues with advanced Alma expertise.

Program & Team Updates

Assessment

Team Membership Changes
We're welcoming new members to the Assessment Team:
  • Meredith Farkas, Portland Community College (Chair-Elect)
  • Kate Cabe, Western Washington University
  • Lynn Deeken, Seattle University
We extend our thanks to those who have concluded their terms:
  • Rick Stoddart, University of Idaho
  • Heidi Nance, University of Washington
  • Steve Borrelli, Washington State University
Assessment Team Work and Reports
This month, the Assessment Team will wrap up its work from last year (Ebook Assessment Plan, Assessment Plan for the Alliance) for discussion with the Board and propose its FY16 goals to the Board and Council. 
 

Collaborative Workforce

The Finance Team's report on the Collaborative Workforce model is now available from the CW Team page. The CW Team is currently developing a mechanism to inventory current work done by teams to map to the CW model.

Cassie Schmitt will shortly be launching several new groups aimed at developing curricula for new staff in various functional areas. Stay tuned for an announcement for opportunities to participate.

Technical Services Working Group
TSWG is wrapping up their planning for this year's activities. Look out for their ambitious work plan soon as well as a call for a number of new groups devoted to specific issues.

The Technical Services Open Call Group will start hosting open calls in September. You can find links to agendas and connection information on the right hand side bar of the CW Team page and the TS Open Calls summary page.
 

Content Creation & Dissemination

Team Membership Changes
We're welcoming new members to the CCD Team:
  • Isaac Gilman, Pacific University (chair-elect)
  • Devin Becker, University of Idaho
  • Rose Krause, Eastern Washington University
And we extend our thanks to those who have concluded their terms:
  • Eva Guggemos, Pacific University
  • Friday Valentine, Chemeketa Community College
CCD Working Groups
The new Team had its first meeting on Monday, August 31. At that meeting, Team members volunteered to be Working Group chairs. Please expect a call for the following Working Groups this week and next:
  • EAD Database Working Group (Chair: Rose Krause, Eastern Washington University)
  • Digital Content Joint Working Group (Chair: Isaac Gilman, Pacific University)
The Archival Collection Management Working Group, which is primarily focused on the ArchivesSpace pilot, was appointed in FY15 in order to feed their work into the FY17 budget process and will continue as charged and staffed through the end of calendar year 2015. The group”s chair is Eva Guggemos, Pacific University.
 
CCD”s other two working groups (Digital Preservation, Exploration) will be staffed early in 2016. 
 

Discovery & Delivery

There have been a lot of changes over the last month. As you've probably heard, Anya Arnold, Program Manager for Discovery & Delivery, is on maternity leave and with her family in Ohio. Keith Folsom has taken on her role as staff liaison to the program while we search for a new staff member. Megan Drake, the former Chair of the D&D team, has left Pacific University for a new career opportunity and Kelly Peterson-Fairchild of Oregon Tech has agreed to become Chair in her place. Kelly leaves the role as team Council Liaison, with Dena Hutto of Reed stepping in. And, last but certainly not least, Jennifer Ward of the University of Washington joined the team to add her depth of knowledge to the mix. Many thanks to all of them for their contributions.

Here are some highlights from the past month:
  • The Primo July Service Pack was installed on Sunday, August 23.
  • The September Alma release was installed on on Sunday, August 30.
  • Discovery and Delivery Open Calls are moving from bi-weekly to once a month--the last Monday at 2pm and the last Thursday at11am, respectively.  Past agendas and recordings are available from the team web page.
  • Moshe Shechter gave a great talk on the Resource Sharing Locate process, available as a streaming video from the team web page.
  • A test run of renormalization/reindexing in the Primo sandbox confirmed a reduction in time taken from about 96 hours to less than 71 hours after the installation of "Nimble Storage".  This is solid progress, with more to come in the future.
One last note on an ongoing change to the Primo front-end is that institution names displayed in the "Get It" tab's availability listing will no longer be prefixed with the institution code, making them much more patron-friendly to read. This change is being rolled out during the first and second week of September.
 

Shared Content

Happy back-to-school season! The Shared Content Team is launching the new academic year with new members, a new chair of the E-book Working Group, and a new working group. Here's the round-up of activities:
 
Team Membership Changes
The team is welcoming Xan Arch (Reed) and Kristi DeShazo (OHSU) to the Shared Content Team this month. Kristi will take on leadership of the E-book Working Group with her role. 
 
Many thanks to departing team members Kris Kern (PSU) and Serin Anderson (St. Martin's)!
 
New Working Group focusing on Alma 
Thanks to all the people who volunteered to work on the Consortial Alma Collection Development Working Group. We had more volunteers than we could accommodate, and we have a full roster ready to move forward with Corey Murata (UW) at the helm. This group will examine the ways we can take advantage of Alma's collaborative functionality to streamline work related to licensing, e-resource activation, and acquisitions. 
 
DDA Records in Alma
This final set of DDA titles slated for removal were withdrawn in early August. In the last week, Hilary Robbeloth and I have refreshed the DDA records in Alma to start the new year with a clean slate of access points. The clean up work related to that project continues, but the end is in sight. 
 
To say that the DDA marketplace is in flux - and thus so is this project - would be an understatement. We appreciate your continuing patience, support, and feedback this summer.
 
ProQuest's Ebook Central Platform - DDA Downtime
On September 16th, ProQuest will conduct the final work to merge the ebrary and EBL e-book platforms, creating a single unified "Ebook Central" portal. The DDA titles and the ebrary Academic Complete product are expected to be unavailable on September 16 from 3 - 6 PM
 

Systems

Priority Support Issues meeting
The Alliance held an issues discussion with Ex Libris on September 2. Check out the updates, including ExL”s responses to issues and follow-up information.

One challenging issue (reflected on the September 2 list) is the number of high priority cases with major on the ground impact that are in status Development and no delivery date estimate. The Alliance will continue engaging with Ex Libris on this problem that involves Support and ExL”s headquarters-based Development operation.

Open Systems Call, September 9
We have an open Systems call scheduled for next week. An agenda, including GoToMeeting link, is available.

Please, if you have agenda items that you would like to see discussed, or to talk about yourself, email Wade Guidry. This meeting is for your benefit, so knowing how you would like to spend the time would be very helpful.

Primo performance update
The renormalization and reindexing of Primo has been a major performance concern - Primo cannot be updated during the time this maintenance is running. After the installation of an improved storage solution on the Primo premium sandbox, ExL and Alliance testing showed the maintenance time reduced from the mid-90s to 70-75 hours. This duration is too high to meet Alliance operational needs - 48 hours or less. ExL is continuing its work to improve Primo maintenance performance times and will conduct a performance briefing soon for the Alliance to provide more details, including timeline information.

Primo enhancements process
Alliance institutions will be asked to vote on a Primo enhancements ballot in the September-October timeframe. A Systems Team working group will be formed to create a voting recommendation similar to the one created earlier this year by the Alma Enhancements Working Group. This will enable coordinated voting by Alliance institutions and increased impact in the Primo enhancements process.

Alma Enhancements Working Group recommendations
Following the conclusion of it 2015 activities, the Alma Enhancements Working Group drew up two recommendations for altering the process for 2016. Those two recommendations include:
  1. Increase percentage of votes allocated to the Alliance to 80%, from the current allocation of 70%.
  2. Target a discrete, reduced number of enhancements to back at each stage of voting, no more than 10 in the first round, and no more than 4 in the second round.
Both of these recommendations are designed to improve the effectiveness of the Alliance in championing enhancement requests most beneficial to the Alliance as a whole. In the near future, these recommendations will be more formally circulated for feedback and comment.

Primo Toolkit Working Group
The Primo Toolkit Working Group nomination and appointment process is complete, and the working group will hold its inaugural meeting on September 10. Congratulations and sincere thanks to the new members:
  • Nathan Mealey, chair (Portland State University)
  • Lesley Lowery, Discovery & Delivery liaison (Western Washington University)
  • Dawn Lowe-Wincensten (Oregon Institute of Technology)
  • Tamara Marnell (Portland Community College)
  • Doug Eriksen (Seattle University)
  • Stewart Baker (Western Oregon University)
  • Kate Deibel (University of Washington)

Profile of Trevor Bond

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.

Amber Conway and Trevor Bond mimicking the traditional grip-and-grin photo at a WSU general education awards ceremony
Name, position
Trevor James Bond, Co-Director of the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation,
Head of Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections,
Instructor in History, Washington State University

City of residencePullman, WA
 
Favorite thing about where you currently live: I love living in a small town with a major research university.

Favorite outside of work activity?
I really enjoy playing tennis. With all of the heat this summer, it was terrific playing at WSU”s outdoor courts late in the evening.

What are you most proud of while working at the Alliance?
I am so pleased that the CCD team developed an ambitious yet achievable agenda. Our work particularly around metadata standards and aggregating unique collections will greatly enhance the visibility and diversity of the Alliance”s collections.

What are you excited about for the coming year?
I am very eager to finish my dissertation, work on a planning grant from the Mellon Foundation as part of WSU”s new Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation, and to help the CCD team to achieve our goals.

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.