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December 4, 2015

Alliance News December 2015

From the Chair of the Board & Executive Director

The recent Program Manager search attracted many strong applications and two outstanding finalists.  Many thanks to all the staff at Alliance libraries that submitted comments or participated in the November 19 interviews. We are so very fortunate to have Ray Henry, currently Web Services Librarian at Washington State University, join the Alliance as the Program Manager overseeing the Discovery & Delivery Program. Ray starts on January 25. Welcome Ray!

At the same time, we must also bid farewell to Keith Folsom, the Alliance IT Manager and, more recently, staff liaison to the Discovery & Delivery Team as he moves on to a position in the IS department at University of Oregon. Keith starts his new job on January 4. Keith has been a remarkable source of strength for the Alliance. Beyond his great technical abilities, Keith has brought a service ethic, powerful intellect, sense of humor, and calm demeanor that will be missed. Congratulations to Keith and thank you for all you have done! 

In other staffing news, we'll just remind you that the Alliance Executive Director position has been posted and closes onDecember 28. Please help get the word out about this terrific opportunity. Send nominations to Betsy Wilson, Faye Chadwell, or the representatives of Greenwood/Asher & Associates, Inc. listed on the position announcement.

We are also pleased to report that during their November meeting Council approved membership applications from Clackamas Community College in Oregon City and Whitworth University in Spokane.  Well done Clackamas and Whitworth! There are several other steps that need to be taken and membership will not be finalized for some time but we expect to add Alliance members 38 and 39 over the next year. Council has placed a hold on consideration of further applications and will be assessing membership criteria over the coming year. As part of the November meeting, Council also approved a timeline for changing the way we administer payroll and benefits for Alliance staff and approved further development of a proposal for Alliance involvement in the Digital Public Library of America.

Finally, we'll note that last month the Alliance played a central role in launching a group composed of consortia using Alma and Primo. This group includes leadership from the Alliance and academic consortia in Wisconsin, California, and Georgia. Early activities include regular webinars to share information, explore innovations, and identify high-priority needs we all have in common. This effort will complement all the other avenues we have for working with Ex Libris.

We wish you all a happy December and feel so very appreciative of all your hard work and creativity.
Faye A. Chadwell, Chair of the Board and Council
John Helmer, Executive Director

COE: Consortial Analytics: 

An Alliance group is working with Ex Libris to review and test the capabilities of consortial reporting with Alma Analytics. The group is focused on developing cross institutional and aggregated consortial statistical reports from the Alliance's Network Zone. For example, the tool allows us to quickly generate a snapshot of all Alliance books by call number categories, or we can track time from request to delivery within Alma resource sharing. 
Early stages of this initiative have focused on two things: 1) testing reporting functionality, and 2) requesting specific developments to improve the consortial reporting environment. The group is pleased that Ex Libris is currently developing a mechanism to anonymize patron data in Network Zone reports. This will permit additional access to consortial reports by member of Alliance teams and allow the teams to seamlessly integrate assessment into their activities.
Questions about this initiative can be directed to the group members of: Rose Carlson, Karen Clay, Al Cornish, Jill Emery, Kathi Fountain (Chair), Mary Galvin, Wade Guidry, Bonnie Parks, and Jesse Thomas.

Program & Team Updates


A-Team Establishes Liaisons to other Teams
As per the decision of the Alliance’s Board of Directors in November, and in order to increase communication and embed assessment across all Alliance teams, the Assessment Team has established the following liaison relationships with other Teams:
  • Lynn Deeken, Seattle University, Content Creation & Dissemination Team
  • Meredith Farkas, Portland Community College, Collaborative Workforce Team
  • Rob Bohall, George Fox University, Discovery & Delivery Team
  • Kate Cabe, Western Washington University, Shared Content Team
  • Michele Burke, Chemeketa Community College, Systems Team
A-team members will attend the meetings of other Teams on an as-needed basis as determined by the Team chair, staff liaison, or Assessment team member, to assist with discussions and initiatives that benefit from an assessment framework or perspective. 
Ebook Assessment
The Assessment Team is currently deep into a review of the current literature on Ebooks, including the volume that was released at the Charleston conference. With a charge to complete an end user focused assessment of the Alliance’s Ebook program this year, the Assessment Team is carefully looking for the best niche in which to work. With all the excellent literature about this rapidly-changing landscape, we don’t want to re-create the wheel!

Collaborative Workforce

CW Team
The CW Team completed work on a template to gather information on collaborative work across the Alliance. The team met with all the team chairs and program managers to kick off the project. It is expected that the CW Team will evaluate the submissions in January and identity any patterns or areas where further exploration of work assignment may be useful.

The CW Team will be looking for a new team member to fill a vacancy so stay tuned for an announcement shortly!

The  New Staff Training Group for Acquisitions is seeking your input on a draft of training topics for acquisitions. Please comment in the document or send any thoughts to Morag Stewart, chair of the group by December 18.

Technical Services Working Group
The group reviewed the following reports and recommended review and follow up action by the Shared Content Team: Two reports were submitted to TSWG that will be reviewed at the December 8 meeting:

Content Creation & Dissemination

ArchivesSpace Pilot Reports Available
The Archival Collection Management Working Group of the Content Creation & Dissemination Team has completed its report on the ArchivesSpace pilot and recommendation to the CCD Team.
Want more information about ArchivesSpace and participating institutions’ experiences in the pilot? Come to one of the webinars the group is hosting in December:
Tuesday, December 8, 10 Pacific/11 Mountain/9 Alaska Thursday, December 10, 1 Pacific/2 Mountain/noon Alaska
Last, but not least....you need to know how much this may cost! That’s a question on which the CCD Team has not yet made any decisions—and will not without input from all institutions that participate in the Archives & Manuscripts Collections Service. The question of ArchivesSpace implementation is wound into the FY17 budget process. All A&M Collections Service participating institutions should expect more information on potential costs and a chance to make choices between now and the end of January as we work on the FY17 budget. 
Digital Content JWG Releases Report on Surveys on DAMs/IRs, unique materials in SILS, and Review of Draft Metadata Standards
The Digital Content Joint Working Group has released its report on the surveys on DAMs/IRs, unique materials in the SILS, and review of draft metadata standards. You can also view comments received on the draft metadata standards. The information was gathered in two separate surveys sent to CCD Representatives in October and November; thanks to everyone who took the time to answer on behalf of their institutions.
The report contains the following recommendations:
  • Develop shared practices and support for piping digital collections from DAMs or IRs into institutional and shared Primo
  • Resolve the question of MARC analogs for Archives West collections
  • Advocate for search engine optimization of Primo with Ex Libris
  • Use survey results to inform the COE on digital objects
  • Modify the draft digital content metadata standards:
    • Re-focus as primarily an output standard, with optional support for inputs
    • Engage questions about specific fields raised in survey response comments and resolve appropriately with the assistance of metadata experts
    • Circulate to CCD Representatives and Teams again for review and approval
  • Continue to engage questions around the Alliance role in preserving and exposing unique collections
The report will inform the following efforts:
  • The inventory of DAMs and IRs will move to the Alliance’s documentation center, when available, so that Alliance members can update the information there (thus eliminating the need for future surveys on this subject)
  • The number of DAMs, IRs, amount of customization, and number of fully open digital objects will inform the CCD Team’s work on proposing a DPLA hub for Alliance members
  • Current and desired practices for managing unique materials in the Shared ILS will inform the DC JWG’s work on recommending development of shared practices
  • Desires for managing digital objects in Alma will inform the Center of Excellence work on digital objects
  • Feedback on the draft digital content metadata standards will inform needed revisions to that draft and further higher-level conversations on the shared vision for aggregating digital content at the Alliance in fulfillment of the Strategic Agenda.

Discovery & Delivery

Ray Henry Starting as Discovery & Delivery Program Manager January 25
As you may have heard, Ray Henry has accepted the position of Program Manager for Discovery & Delivery and will be taking on the position on January 25, 2016. She has already begun working with the D&D team and staff at the Alliance to help her toward a smooth transition into the role. Please join us in welcoming her. She will be a wonderful addition to the staff of the Alliance!

Primo Renormalization/Re-indexing in December
The Primo Premium sandbox will be renormalized and re-indexed beginning on December 14 at 1:00am Pacific Time. The process should complete by early on December 17. Ex Libris has made a configuration change that should prevent most of the problems we have seen with the Primo eShelf during the re-indexing phase, which takes place during the last 40-48 hours of the overall process.

If all goes well during the sandbox process, we will initiate a renorm/re-indexing for Primo Production on December 28 at 1:00am which should be complete by early on the morning of December 31.  This will enable the newest additions and changes to the normalization rules that have been tested and approved by the Normalization Rules Working Group. 

Primo November Release: Testing and Installation to Production
The November release of Primo was installed in the sandbox environments on Sunday, November 22.  The Primo Release Testing Working Group has been conducting testing of the release and, after consultation with the Discovery & Delivery Team, will be making a go/no go decision on whether to install it in the Production environment on Tuesday, December 15. If the decision is to go, it will be installed on Sunday, December 20.

Shared Content

"Collection Development Guiding Principles" Poised for Review
The Shared Content Team is finalizing an initial draft and will be distributing the draft to the representatives early the week of December 7th. The document is intended to help inform local collection development practices within our shared consortial collection. Watch for a message from Mike Olson, chair of Shared Content, for more information.
E-books at the Alliance
The E-Book Working Group will hold an open call on December 10th to discuss alternatives to our demand driven acquisitions project. Shared Content Representatives and their colleagues are welcome to join the call. Credentials and related documents will be shared with the representatives early the week of December 7th
DDA monthly usage and expenditure reports are up-to-date on the website.
The problem of false Alliance DDA hits in Primo was mentioned in the November issue of this newsletter. Ex Libris corrected the underlying problem, so this should no longer affect patrons. As always, send your reports of inaccessible titles to Kathi Fountain, who is currently maintaining the DDA records in Alma. 
Licenses in the Network Zone: Testing 
A working group in Shared Content is exploring the mechanics of providing licensing information in the Alma Network Zone. Our goal is to help simplify management of shared resources, but we're starting small by testing in the sandbox and refining processes before full scale implementation in the live environment. 


Alma release information
This week, the Alma December release is installed on sandbox environments - the release will be installed on Alma production on Sunday morning, December 6. One point of interest: Ex Libris has now stated monthly release dates through the 12 months of 2016. This is significant, in terms of testing expectations for 2016. 
Testing of PDS removal from Primo authentication
Wade Guidry and Nathan Mealey are currently testing no-PDS (Patron Directory Services) authentication in the Alliance Primo premium sandbox, on Shibboleth. The first successful test of Shibboleth occurred on Dec 2. You can see an example presentation of no-PDS authentication on the UPUGS sandbox. Additional testing is still needed, after which results and guidelines will be shared in January. This is critical work, because most of the Alliance's Primo authentication problems have been traceable back to PDS. 
Support case activity for Alliance/member institutions
Ex Libris Support is currently putting a number of Alliance and institution cases into a Pending Work Plan status. This is how the Pending Work Plan cases are managed by ExL Support: "Cases in Pending Work Plan status will be reassessed by Support and Development periodically.  If the assessment results in the issue moving into the work plan, the Case status will change to Development.  If the Case is not moved into the work plan after 24 months, the Case will change to Closing status." 
Note that it is possible to appeal this decision for a case, though you should be selective in doing so. In April, ExL Senior Support Manager Brian Noone wrote: "I also want you and your colleagues to know that as described in the Pending Work Plan announcement, you have the option to tell us that you don’t accept Pending Work Plan status for a case, and ask us to put the Case back into Development status.  If you choose to do this, just update the Case to indicate that you don’t think Pending Work Plan status is correct for that particular Case, and ask for it to be handed back to Development."   
Please contact Al Cornish if you have any questions on this status or case management. 
Primo Toolkit Working Group update
The Primo Toolkit Working Group has begun creating documentation and step-by-step instructions for the customizations that will be included in the finished, published toolkit. In the end, based on the results of our survey to the Alliance, we'll be including 29 items that cover a range of functionality improvements and how-to guides. The goal is to make these available to everyone in late-January/early-February. Thanks to all of you who responded to our survey!
Center of Excellence Analytics - Systems update
Wade and Mary Galvin (University of Oregon) have been pursuing, loosely under the Analytics COE, some alternative methods for constructing period comparison and rolling period reports in Alma Analytics. Wade shared a write-up on a new rolling period technique. Meanwhile, Mary has discovered some new rolling period approaches, which can be seen in report examples available in the Alma Analytics community folder at: Shared Folders Community Reports Orbis Cascade Alliance Systems.
Systems Open Call for December
This month's Systems Open Call will be on Wednesday, December 9, from 1 PM to 2 PM

Profile of Keith Folsom

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.

Keith Folsom
Name, positionKeith Folsom, Information Technology Manager, Orbis Cascade Alliance

City of residence Eugene, OR
Favorite thing about where you currently live: 
I grew up in St. Maries, Idaho--a little town situated in a river valley between evergreen-covered mountains. Eugene reminds me of a larger version of St. Maries. It has all the charm of a small town along with the conveniences (Trader Joe's and Costco!) and cultural opportunities of a larger city. It suits me well.

Favorite outside of work activity: 
Wow. That's a hard one.  I have a lot of projects and hobbies that aren't getting as much attention as I'd like and which are pretty much on par for the satisfaction they give me. I'd say that the top one right now is doing work on my Android music player app, which I started coding on in 2009 and keep tweaking as time allows. I use it every day and enjoy keeping it up-to-date.

What are you most proud of while working at the Alliance? 
I'm most proud of my work with the NWDA/Archives West system and community. It's been a great pleasure to maintain and enhance a web-based service that is used by people all over the world.  Creating and maintaining software and hardware systems that have an immediate, positive impact on people and makes their lives easier has always been high on my list of priorities in any job I've had over the years.

What are you excited about for the coming year? 
Though I've greatly enjoyed my five years of employment with the Alliance, I am moving into a new position at the University of Oregon after the first of the new year. I'm both excited for the new opportunities and sad to leave an organization that has so many interesting and engaged individuals who have been both supportive of my work and incredibly fun to know. More great things are still to come for the Orbis Cascade Alliance, and I'm glad that I'm still going to be working for a member institution and will definitely be keeping in touch.

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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