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August 5, 2016

Alliance News August 2016

From the New Chair of the Board

Greetings from Idaho! I’m delighted to be serving you this year as the chair of the Board and Council and am excited to be a part of all your work. One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that libraries are constantly adapting and evolving to meet the needs of users. I’m pleased to be part of the Alliance because we work together to address the emerging needs of our faculty and students.
The Board and Council have a full agenda sketched out for this year which will include some work on internal operations of the Alliance as well as topics that are set out in other parts of this newsletter.  I’ll be working closely with Dana and Board and Council members to advance our organizational goals as we explore what it means to work collaboratively and evaluate our progress thus far on working in a shared environment.
Lynn Baird, Chair of the Board and Council

From the Chair of the Board & Executive Director

It was great to see so many of you at the Summer Meeting. We had over 350 people attending over the 4 days, and really enjoyed the discussions and getting to meet so many of you! We hope it was a great kick-off for your summer, and you are now energized for the start of the school year.

Thank You Bob Thomas!
We all benefit from Bob Thomas’ (WWU) work in the Alma Network Zone every day. Bob has served the Alliance in numerous ways – almost too many to count! 

We suspect many will feel similar to Kyle Banerjee who stated:
"I cannot express how much I’ve appreciated the opportunity to work with Bob over the years. Cursed with amazing operational knowledge, an incredible capacity for work, endless patience, and being a blast to work with to boot, Bob is the first person many of us turn to for problems big and small. The Alliance simply won’t be the same without him."

As Bob retires in a few weeks, we send Thanks and Best Wishes from the entire Orbis Cascade Alliance. (See the profile in the newsletter.) Happy Retirement!

We’re also glad to welcome Milly Williams (PCC) as our new Network Zone manager. Thank you for taking on this important role!

Assessment Team
On behalf of the entire Board, we’d like to thank the many members of the Assessment Team for their hard work and perseverance over the last years. At the July Council meeting, Council decided to restructure the Alliance’s approach to assessment, and that also meant discontinuing this team. Instead of having one team responsible for coordinating assessment, the Alliance will charter and authorize specific assessment projects, and put together unique teams for the specific purposes. Assessment remains important to the Alliance, and the A-Team led us in this tough but important task of reviewing our own work for impact. They helped support and encourage the assessment culture throughout the Alliance, and we will continue to benefit from their work.

Thank you Annie Downey, Rob Bohall, Meredith Farkas, Michele Burke, Kate Cabe, Lynn Deekin, Karen Clay & Jodi Allison-Bunnell!

July Council
We had a busy Council meeting at the end of the Summer Meeting. All the Team Chairs gave Council an update on the great achievements over the last year, as well as the plans for this next year. The Council also worked on the topics they’d like to see covered in a future Annual Report, discussed how to evaluate our use of the SILS now that we are several years into implementation, discussed whether we should be engaged in Hathi Trust as a consortium, and discussed the Collaborative Workforce Inventory Report. We are proceeding with an analysis of our work in Alma and Primo, looking for new ways to work with the SILS to move closer to our vision of a collaborative workforce. Ex Libris is also aware of our SILS Evaluation project, and we hope that the results will better inform them of areas for future improvement, as well as what we need to focus on during our upcoming contract renewal.

With the Summer Meeting, we welcome new Teams, Working Groups and a Board! The Board set its meetings for the year, and is working on the agenda items for each month. All of the updated dates are on the Board webpage, and Council meeting dates are on the Council page.

HR Transition Project
Alliance staff currently receive benefits and paychecks from the University of Oregon, but are assigned to work at the Alliance. The Board and Council decided that it’s time to establish our own HR practices and manage our own payroll to allow greater flexibility. The staff are just beginning a process, working with the HR Task Force, to establish our own HR policies and select benefits. We expect to be official Alliance employees on July 1, 2017!

New Reps
We heard lots of great feedback at the Summer Meeting, and the Council has already implemented some of the changes you requested. Earlier this week, we released a call for additional Reps for two Teams – Discovery & Delivery and Collaborative Workforce & Technical Services. (Thus, Discovery has a Rep; Delivery has a Rep; Collaborative Workforce has a Rep; and Technical Services has a Rep.) Starting in September, members may keep their current Reps or add two more. Council members appoint Reps, a critical communication role for everyone. In addition, the Technical Services Working Group is talking about how to expand the number of Technical Services email lists, so allow more specialized communication about common issues. Thanks for the feedback. Feel free to be in touch with your Program Manager, or us, with more ideas!
Lynn Baird, Chair of the Board and Council
Dana Bostrom, Executive Director

Analytics Training Resources

Over the past few weeks we have updated the Analytics Training Resources page to include materials from the training held at summer meeting as well as additional materials developed by members.

Ex Libris introduced a new training session: Alma Essentials – Introduction to Alma Analytics.
  • The session covers Analytics basics - how to run and view existing reports, create a new analysis, create a new report, create graphs, display widgets in Alma, and schedule reports.
Ex Libris will be hosting an "Ask the Alma Expert" session discussing the new features in OBI and General Analytics inquiries on Monday, August 8th. Sessions will be recorded. To access connection information and recorded sessions visit the Ask the Alma Expert page.

Program & Team Updates

Collaborative Workforce

CW Team
The July Council meeting included a lively discussion of the CW Inventory report. Based on the initial snapshot it was decided more information is needed to be able to make informed decisions on shared human resources.

The Council revised one of the CW Team's goals to meet that need:
"The Collaborative Workforce Team is charged to redesign the Collaborative Work Inventory methodology in order to:
  • Collect information about Alliance work done outside the structure of teams and working groups;
  • Collect information from individual staff members, in addition to chairs and program managers;
  • Involve Council members in data collection and review; and
  • Create a sustainable process that can be repeated annually.
The proposed methodology should be circulated broadly for feedback prior to implementation."

Taking into account feedback from the CW reps, the team is currently discussing goal prioritization and timelines to accomplish goals. Stay tuned for information in the coming weeks for opportunities to serve on working groups.

New Reps for CW & Tech Services
Starting September 1 we will have two sets of representatives in an effort to support better and clearer communication efforts. Institutions may choose to appoint separate representatives who focus on Collaborative Workforce topics and Technical Services topics. Once appointed by Council members, we will update the webpages and email lists for both sets of reps.

Milly Williams is new Network Zone Manager for Technical Services
We welcome Milly Williams (PCC) this month who will take over the NZ Manger role with Bob Thomas' upcoming retirement for this fiscal year.

Milly Williams worked at the Orbis Cascade Alliance for 4 years in the Resource Sharing program area. After leaving the Alliance, she has always worked at member libraries, starting out in ILL and Circulation until she found her true passion: Technical Services. She has participated on several Alliance groups that dealt with importing and managing records in Alma and provided import profile training during the SILS migration days. Milly currently works as the Acquisitions Specialist at Portland Community College and is a little obsessed with import profiles and a huge fan of donuts. She is excited for the opportunity to serve in the NZ manager role and learn from all the amazing Alliance brains.

Milly will be working on Alliance work in the morning hours. The Alliance will be tracking work in this area in a detailed fashion and exploring how the Alliance can better support this work. This will be an exciting year as we expect delivery of the remaining functionality we are pursuing under the Center of Excellence Network Zone Initiative. Milly will be involved with this initiative as well as looking at other ways we can build off Bob Thomas' foundational work.

Our eternal gratitude to Bob Thomas and his substantial contributions to the Alliance and warm welcome to Milly.

Technical Services Working Group
Based on member feedback, TSWG is discussing the creation of new email lists more narrowly focused than the current Technical Services Discussion list. More information will be coming out soon.

TSWG is currently reviewing priority projects and developing plans for the coming year. The group will be sharing information later this month.

New Policy: Deleting bare Network Zone Records from an IZ
TSWG issued this new policy in response to changes in the Alma August Release. If you or someone you supervise has the Cataloger Extended role please review thefull policy information.

Content Creation & Dissemination

Digital Collections Service Launched
With the beginning of the fiscal year comes the launch of the new service of CCD: Digital Collections, which supports creation, maintenance, and aggregation of unique digital content held by Alliance libraries.
This new service is supported in part with a grant awarded by the Oregon Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) program of the Oregon State Library.
In FY17, this initiative will build capacity for digital collections metadata cleanup, training, and support. This includes implementing the Alliance's Dublin Core metadata standards, building a sustainable aggregation infrastructure at the Orbis Cascade Alliance, developing replicable supports, and making an application to be a Digital Public Library of America hub for the region.

Archival Collection Management Working Group Appointed
The Content Creation & Dissemination Team appointed its Archival Collection Management Working Group at its July 21 meeting. The working group began on August 2.
Members are:
  • Amber d’Ambrosio (Willamette University)
  • Mark Carlson (University of Washington)
  • Nathan Georgitis (University of Oregon)
  • Eva Guggemos (Pacific University)
  • Sarah Shipley (Seattle Municipal Archives)
  • Jodi Allison-Bunnell, Alliance (ex officio)
We had many more individuals interested than we had spaces for; it is lovely to see such strong interest in this work! Members were selected based on having the skills to do the work, institutional diversity, and appointing a mix of those who have worked on this for the Alliance before, and those who have not. In addition, members of this working group needed demonstrated ArchivesSpace experience, demonstrated experience producing effective documentation and training collaboratively, and substantial experience with migrations.

Discovery & Delivery

Summer Meeting
A huge thank you to all our presenters and attendees, both at Summit & Fulfillment Day, and for the breakout sessions! Presentations and session notes (where available) have been posted on the Documentation centerSummit and Fulfillment Day presentations are linked at the top of that page.
Primo August Release - Premium Sandbox Environment, Renorm/Reindex Scheduled, Open Call Scheduled for the New UI
The August release was installed on the premium sandbox environment Sunday, July 31st. This is considered a "production-ready" release, so issues or challenges found when testing can be reported as Salesforce cases. The Primo Release Testing WG has more information, including release notes customized for Alliance libraries.
A renorm/reindex is scheduled on the Primo premium sandbox for 8/8-8/11 to test new normalization rules functionality introduced in the August release. As part of this work, starting on Friday, August 5, LC and Call Number browse searches will not be available in the sandbox, and updating from Alma or other sources will be suspended until the renorm/reindex completes. Additionally, the Primo release testing deadline has been extended, and is scheduled to finish on Wednesday, August 17 at 5pm.
Mark your calendars! A joint Systems and D&D Open Call, "New Primo UI: Transition Considerations" is scheduled for Monday, August 22nd, from 2:30 - 3:30. Led by Nathan Mealey, Systems Team chair, and Stephanie Michel, Primo Release Testing WG chair, the session will cover pros and cons, and other issues to keep in mind when deciding how and when to transition to the new UI. Look for meeting credentials and an agenda to be sent out soon.
Alma August Release - Sandbox
The August release was installed on the premium sandbox environment Sunday, July 31st and is currently being tested. This release is scheduled to go into production onSunday, August 7th. Release notes and resolved issues are available. As part of reviewing the release, a Delivery open call is scheduled for this Friday, August 5th, from 11:30 - 12:30.  A recording of the call will be posted.
Annual Account Reconciliation (AAR) Alliance libraries are currently in a confirmation phase, reviewing the list of items pending for billing. A final list of billable items is expected to be completed by August 19th.
New Representatives to be Added
Discovery and Delivery will have new representatives appointed soon. In an effort to support better and clearer communication efforts, institutions can opt to appoint a representative who focuses on discovery-related topics, and one that focuses on delivery-related topics. The D&D reps list will be updated soon with the new appointees.
New Open Call Schedule Begins in September
D&D will return to regularly scheduled open calls beginning in September. Open calls are open to anyone in the Alliance who is interested in topics in these areas. Delivery open calls will be on the first Thursday of every month, from 10-11, and Discovery open calls will be on the third Thursday of every month from 10-11. These calls are already scheduled on the Alliance calendar.
Accessibility and User Testing: An Alliance Professional Development Program
WSU-Vancouver Librarians Sue Phelps and Nicole Campbell delivered a half-day workshop on July 29th: "Supporting Vision-Impaired Students Using Library Databases: Sharing User Testing Strategies." More than 25 participants from across the Alliance learned about adaptive technologies, the initial findings of the usability study Sue and Nicole did (with users of screen readers searching in academic databases), and basic user testing practices.

Shared Content

Shared Content had productive sessions a the summer meeting including an Ebook update and discussion on the  Last Copy Policy and 3-Copy Threshold Guidelines. Information from both sessions has been posted to the Team's page.

Stay tuned for future updates as the team dives into this year's goals.


Alma Analytics update
Ex Libris has increased the row limit for viewing and exporting data in Alma Analytics reports from around 64,000 rows to 250,000 rows. This limit will be increased over time. This capability will be reviewed in an Ex Libris-led Ask the Alma Expert session on Monday, August 8 (from 7 AM to 8 AM Pacific, with the session being recorded).

The Alliance continues to work with Ex Libris in the Center of Excellence Consortial Reporting initiative, focusing on improving reports related to Summit borrowing and improving the reporting tool to meet consortium needs.  

Alma August release
The Alma August release will be installed on production on Sunday, August 7. More details are available online in the Release Notes.

Highlights from Alma August release:
More Granular Anonymization Rules
Loans can now be anonymized using a range of criteria, including days since returned, patron group, location, and others.

Resource sharing request form customization in Alma
The Summit request form can now be customized using settings in Alma, just as the local hold request forms can be.

Export URLs Functionality Added
There is now the ability to export URLs from Alma. This could potentially be a great help in streamlining adding eresource URLs to your EZProxy configuration.

Next Open Systems Call on Wednesday September 14
The Systems Team will hold their next open call on Wednesday, September 14. Following this, the open calls will be held from 1-2pm on the 2nd Wednesday of each month.

Profile of Bob Thomas

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.

Name, positionBob Thomas, Head of Cataloging, Western Washington University

City of residence Bellingham, Washington
Favorite thing about where you currently live: 
The size – not too big (no traffic problems) and not too small (lots of activities, events, good restaurants). But also the close proximity to forest walks, mountains, lakes and  Puget Sound. Bellingham really does have it all.

Favorite outside of work activity: 
Playing card games and board games with my kids and grandkids (just taught them double deck pinochle). But also at the top is doing anything with my wife, especially traveling and exploring new places.

What are you most proud of while working at the Alliance? 
Having the opportunity to work with a lot of great people to plan and implement the migration to Alma, and the building of a very functional union catalog, aka the Network Zone (it’s not where we want it to be yet, but it’s getting closer).
What are you excited about for the coming year? 
Absolutely my retirement. I served in the U.S. Navy for over 20 years and have now worked in libraries for over 20 years. My wife and I are really looking forward to traveling again, but this time at a leisurely 7 knots and living full-time on our own boat.

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.
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