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March 3, 2017

Alliance News March 2017

From the Chair of the Board & Executive Director

Board elections for FY 18 have begun, and we are glad to congratulate Michelle Bagley (Clark College) as the Chair-Elect. Elections continue for Member-At-Large positions, and elections will conclude in March.

Changes to Group structure. Soon we will release the call for nominations for Team Members. We expect that the Team structure may look a little different next year, as the Council is considering some changes to our Team structure, including creating a Technical Services Team and a Collaborative Workforce Standing Group. What is a Standing Group? Currently we have a number of Working Groups and Center of Excellence Groups, but the structure, authority and work completed by these groups vary widely – despite the similar names.

We considered the ways members collaborate to do the work of the Alliance, and realized we have two primary mechanisms: Standing Groups and Project Groups. Standing Groups are expected to meet throughout the entire year, and regularly meet to do the work of the Alliance. Project Groups meet for a few months, complete a specific task, and then end.

After the Council meeting we will determine which Teams need more members, and release a call for members on March 27. All members interested in nominating someone or themselves will use one web form. Nominations will close April 14. We have always had a practice that those being nominated should talk with their supervisor to make sure that serving on a Team is a good fit. This year we are including new mechanisms to make sure that Council members are alerted to nominations of staff at their institutions.

The Board always reviews and appoints team members, and we are planning this for the May Board meeting to allow Teams some time to plan for the July fiscal year kick-off. In July the Teams will announce all of Standing and Project Groups (and the timing) that they can, to enable member planning regarding their participation during the year. The Council approved these changes, as well as criteria for Team members, in November 2016. More information can be found at the Team Structure page on the Alliance site.

We hope that these changes help all members better plan their participation and helps us all achieve our goals together.

March Council Meeting. The Council will consider and pass a budget for FY 18, and consider how to staff the Network Zone role. We’ll also spend time with a facilitator, Tasha Harmon, to begin the early stages of strategic planning. This includes a focus on our shared values and how we work together to make the best decisions for the Alliance. The Council will also discuss the Collaborative Workforce plan for the Inventory survey(s).

Human Resources Task Force. The staff and the Human Resources Task Force continue their hard work. We expect to approve a new Employee Handbook in March, and select partners to work with us on the new Alliance retirement plan. After the Council meeting and these plans are in place, we’ll begin the hiring process for vacant positions.

SILS Evaluation. The Coordinating Group is in the final stages of survey design. By the time you read this, beta testers will have begun review of the survey, which is the first stage of this project. Respondents will get to begin working with all of you to provide answers in March. The Coordinating Group will work to review the answers and plan appropriate focus groups and follow up. We look forward to your participation to guide our future collaboration and work with Ex Libris.

Lynn Baird, Chair of the Board and Council
Dana Bostrom, Executive Director

Ex Libris Meeting

Summary from Dana Bostrom:
Al Cornish, Cassie Schmitt, Curtis Wyant, Ray Henry & I had a long in-person meeting at the Alliance Eugene office with Ex Libris on March 1. While we meet 1-2 times a month with Ex Libris to surface issues and resolve problems, this week was intentionally longer to talk more broadly about our work together. I have previously updated the Alliance about our August meeting with Ex Libris and the associated action items.  I’m pleased to say that we have addressed most of the issues we discussed at that meeting, and this review will highlight some of those resolutions as well as explain what else we discussed.  

Jane Burke is the VP for Customer Success, and she is our primary contact. We also speak regularly with Matt Baker, the Director of North American Support. On March 1 we reviewed:

Alma-focused items:
  1. Alma Internal User Authentication. We probed for more information on Ex Libris’ response to the User Groups’ Authentication Focus Group’s reports. Ex Libris was cautious not to release any information in advance of official channels, but acknowledged that they should have provided more coherent messaging on this change and more options to customers than social logins as the replacement for internal Alma credential storage. They appear to still be committed to making this change, but are focusing on recommending several additional options for a resolution. Ex Libris and the Authentication Focus Group are expected to provide an update by March 31. The Alliance will continue to closely monitor this and work with members to address any transitions we need to make.
  2. New Alma interface. We talked with Ex Libris about how challenging it is to test releases in the sandbox environments if we are required to use the new Alma user interface there beginning 2017 Quarter 3. They are going to look into the option of “toggling” between new and old interfaces during that time of release testing, so we can be sure the test environment and our live environment match. The new UI will be required for all Ex Libris customers, and support for the old UI will end, at the end of 2017. Ex Libris will also work with the Alliance to arrange at least one Alliance-specific webinar to answer questions, and they are interested in learning what other support they can provide as we make this change. The Alliance will also need to identify and share configuration best practices for Alma, as the new UI allows for more flexibility in configuration at the institution and user levels.
  3. Alma settings management. We spoke about Alma’s lack of auditing and logging in many areas -- meaning that it does not log most configuration changes by a user or system process, for example. Ex Libris acknowledged this as an issue and requested that we prioritize areas where we think logging needs to occur. They’ve agreed to look at those areas.
  4. Release Testing. In August, we agreed to set up meetings to better understand processes Ex Libris and Alliance members use to test releases. We now have had several meetings where we’ve gained better appreciation and understanding of each others' processes. Since August, Ex Libris has allowed two weeks of Alma release testing instead of one, and released preview information in current release notes for the next month’s Alma release. Ex Libris is also working on a “community testing” plan, where testing is proactively distributed across Alma users across the globe.  They hope to have more specific details on that plan later this year.  
Primo-focused items:
  1. Primo Access to Full Text ProQuest content. Alliance customers had long-standing cases reporting that certain licensed ProQuest content was unavailable in Primo. Now owned by ProQuest, Ex Libris is working very hard to make systematic changes to the Alma Community Zone records and the Alma uResolver to eliminate these problems. The proposed resolution is targeted for the May or June 2017 releases. This represents a significant step forward for Alliance ProQuest customers.
  2. CAPTCHA. Ex Libris is investigating a proof-of-concept solution to only trigger CAPTCHA after 3 emails, instead of upon the first request. However, they do not intend to make other changes, as they have indicated that the new Primo UI handles those system emails differently (and works without risk), without the use of CAPTCHA. Their recommendation for full resolution is to expedite a switch to the new UI. Initial indications were that they might develop an in-house solution, but they have now indicated the capacity and expertise in Development is not available to do so. We are disappointed in this outcome, and have asked for more information about how the new UI is not susceptible to this problem. We will share that with Alliance stakeholders when it is available.  
  3. Primo Central Index. We spoke with Ex Libris about challenges in administering PCI collections; security measures such as individual usernames and passwords are still not available, and it is possible to accidentally impact others’ PCI settings in a consortially-administered environment. Ex Libris acknowledged that other customers have identified this as a challenge, and they are looking into solutions. No specific timeframe was provided, but we will follow up.
  4. Primo SSL Certificate Errors. Some members are reporting a sporadic problem, which Ex Libris cannot yet reproduce, which presents users with a certificate error when trying to access some electronic resources in Primo. Ex Libris noted that institutions that have moved off of Patron Directory Services (PDS) authentication are not impacted by this problem, which is a motivation for institutions to migrate. Support and Development continue to review the problem, and appreciate the information they have received so far from members.
  5. Planning for the new Primo User Interface. Ex Libris plans to send a staff member to our June 12 meeting (at the UO White Stag building in Portland) to help prepare Alliance members to transition to the new UI.  We have communicated with Ex Libris about sustaining their commitment to consortial package management, including the requirement for the environment to maintain stability in order for the the Alliance to provide effective new UI toolkits for members. Ex Libris has committed to supporting the Alliance, and we will monitor their work. (More specific information on the June 12 meeting is coming soon -- for now, hold the date if you are interested.  Sessions are being designed for systems and public service member staff.)
More General:
  1. COEs. Through review and discussion with Teams and Alliance members working on Centers of Excellence initiatives, we have closed all but three COEs. We are still working on the Summit COE, Consortial Analytics, and bibliographic record management including the Network Zone directly.  Work on several additional COEs will continue, but through collaboration with other consortia. We are hoping to complete remaining work within the calendar year to conclude the initiatives we solely lead.  These timelines are consistent with the five-year plan for all COEs.
  2. Priority Support Issues/Tracks. We reviewed our move from a Priority Support Issues structure, where cases across the Alliance were reviewed and escalated by a group of member participants and Alliance staff on a regular basis, to a Tracks approach, where we have intense focus by development on cases in a specific functional area over a short timeframe. The first emphasis area, Acquisitions, has seen many cases get resolved, so this new approach will continue, with Resource Sharing and Fulfillment as the next emphasis area.
  3. Contacting Support and Support cases. The Alliance is opening fewer cases since last year at this time. Ex Libris has an internal Service Level Agreement (SLA) with specific response times for managing responses to cases. Matt clarified that member library staff members can call Support directly with questions and issues/escalation requests, and Ex Libris will provide us a PowerPoint on specifics for those additional contact channels for Support to share with you.
  4. Manage Trials functionality. In August, we raised the persistent concern we have with Trials of Electronic Resources never properly working. Ex Libris has been examining the issue since then, and reported that they more fully realize how complicated this issue is, and how challenging it will be to fix. They have slated this for deeper examination in 2017 Q4, and will contact the Alliance as part of requirements gathering.
  5. Resource Sharing Configurations - Alliance-wide Review. At the August meeting, we were concerned that our implementation over many cohorts may have created differences in settings in our environments, negatively impacting service. Ex Libris has provided Professional Services at no charge to review our settings, beginning with Resource Sharing. Ray Henry received the first report in mid-February, and is working with the D&D Team to review the complex spreadsheet and consider action. Ex Libris has reported there are no obvious cohort differences. We are considering if we will request this service to examine any other settings, which Ex Libris is glad to do with us.
  1. New ELUNA Product Working Group - Consortia Using Alma with a Network Zone.  Ex Libris encouraged us to create a formal structure through the user groups (international - IGeLU and North America - ELUNA) to create a common voice for consortia that use Alma with a Network Zone. After months of exploration for the right structure, and discussion with our consortial colleagues across the U.S., we are supporting the creation of a new working group (working with the Alma Product Working Group) for consortia like us. We intend for this group to meet at this year's ELUNA in May. The group will advocate for Network Zone features, review proposed developments, and generally support each other. We have nominated Al Cornish to be our representative on that working group. In addition, we will continue to meet with our other consortia colleagues outside this more formal Ex Libris user group structure.
  2. May 2017 ELUNA Conference. We’ve begun arranging meetings with Ex Libris staff at ELUNA, and will share more details (and invite Alliance members to attend, as we have done in the past) as we know more.  We hope that those of you who will be at ELUNA consider joining us at the Alliance gathering -- with details to come when the ELUNA schedule is released.
And finally, Ex Libris remains committed to working with us operationally and strategically. We spoke a great deal with Ex Libris about their desire to become more aware of our long-term strategic plans, and incorporate our plans into theirs. We will continue to talk about this, and bring the Board and other parties into discussion as appropriate.  

Program & Team Updates

Collaborative Workforce

CW Team
Chris Shaffer, Tom, Bielavitz, Sion Romaine, and Cassie Schmitt attended the February Board meeting to particpate in discussions regarding FY18 priorities and projects. One potential outcome the Council will be discussing is the creation of the Technical Services Team and a Collaborative Workforce Standing Group. The CW Standing Group would concentrate on data collection to support a Council leadership group on Collaborative Workforce. We'll have more information about priorities after the March Council meeting

Team chair Chris Shaffer also presented the CW Inventory Working Group's initial proposal to the Board for a pilot inventory project building off the inventory work performed by the CW team last year. Council will review at their March meeting and provide feedback for the group's next steps.

Technical Services Working Group
  • The Alma March release will be installed to production on Sunday, March 5 after a two week testing period.
  • You can find highlights of interest to technical services with comments regarding results from sandbox testing in this summary document.
Unique Collections in the SILS
TSWG has been working with the Unique Collections in the SILS working group to develop solutions to issues raised in the group's report. Stay tuned for future discussions as TSWG develops some policies and documentation for community feedback.

Local Fields Group
TSWG is relaunching another effort to look at specific issues regarding local fields. We're forming a group to build off the work of the previous group to look at these issues:
  1. To review cases of localized fields in Institution A’s Alma instance bleeding into Institution B’s Alma instance, in order to determine the root cause, filing Salesforce cases or making recommendations for training/cleanup.
  2. To consider whether establishing one of the 59X fields as a “global” local note (that is, a local note that would display in all Alliance Primo instances) would be useful or desirable.
  3. To test using 77X and 78X fields as localized fields and making a recommendation as to whether these fields should be used as localized fields by the Alliance and if so, for what purpose. A recommendation to not use is acceptable.
Stay tuned for more information as this group begins their work over the next several weeks.

Open Calls
Mary Grenci (UO) gave an overview of boundwiths on the Feb 16 technical services open call. You can view the recording on the he TS Open Calls page. If you have questions on boundwiths you would like to see included in a future session, please contact Mary directly. On the March 16 open call Maura Valentino (OSU) will be giving a presentation on "A Linked Data Metadata Scheme for Clothing Collections".

Content Creation & Dissemination

Digital Collections
We have a great deal of activity going on in digital collections this month! Many thanks to Anneliese Dehner, Metadata Applications Librarian, and the Digital Collections Working Group for all they are doing to support this initiative. 

Commitments: Last Friday, we asked CCD Representatives to tell us how many digital objects their institution intends to submit to the Alliance harvester for presentation in DPLA, Alliance Primo, or both. We need at least 50,000 digital objects cleaned up and ready in order to become a DPLA hub for Alliance members. Thank you to the twelve institutions that have responded already!

What materials are appropriate for DPLA, Alliance Primo, or both? Some guidelines:
  • DPLA: Digital objects that are described with Dublin Core in an unrestricted system that are part of the United States’ cultural and/or scientific heritage
  • Alliance Primo: Digital objects that are described with Dublin Core in an unrestricted system that the institution wants to pipe to Primo
  • Both: Digital objects that meet both criteria
We are asking for responses by Friday, March 10, close of business. If you haven’t yet responded, we look forward to hearing from you!

Documentation: We've been creating and posting documentation at a rapid pace. The newest arrivals, all posted at https://www.orbiscascade.org/digital-collections-documentation/, are: 
  • Metadata Cleanup Decision Matrix
  • OpenRefine for Metadata Cleanup
  • Columbia's Copyright Advisory Office: The Fair Use checklist
  • Standardized Rights Statements Decision Matrix
  • Rights in Digital Collections: Applying Standardized Rights Statements
Workshops: Upcoming digital collections workshops are:
  • Rights Part 2: March 8, 9
  • Metadata Cleanup: March 16
  • Metadata Experts Forums: March 9, April 10, May 10, June 5
For full descriptions, see https://www.orbiscascade.org/digital-collections-training/ We have already held workshops in Metadata Readiness and Rights Part 1. And what fun we’ve had at all of them!

Harvester: Thanks to the institutions that did preliminary testing on the harvester. We expect a beta release for wider testing on March 10. The harvester is scheduled to be in production April 14.

Our ArchivesSpace implementation is rolling along nicely. Institutions in Cohort 1 are divided into two groups: those migrating from Archivist’s Toolkit, and those who are not. Those migrating from AT have attended training on pre-migration cleanup and will be migrating to ArchivesSpace in March-April. Those not migrating are in training now and beginning the process of using ArchivesSpace to their best advantage. 

Many thanks to the current and past members of the Archival Collection Management Group for their work on the documentation and training. ArchivesSpace is an extremely complex tool; by providing supports specific to the Alliance we’re helping the participating institutions ensure that the tool works for them—not the other way around!

User Testing: Coming in April!
In April, the Digital Collections Working Group and EAD Database Working will be working with Alliance members to conduct user testing.

The Digital Collections Working Group is facilitating testing in Primo interfaces to library catalogs and in wireframes to help the Alliance determine our objectives for optimal search and display of digital objects. This is a critical component of this year’s digital collections initiative. Clear objectives will allow us to write normalization rules for the Primo pipe in the premium sandbox, and to measure the extent to which the outcomes are successful. Any Alliance member is welcome to participate in this testing.

The EAD Database Working Group is facilitating testing on Archives West to assess the effectiveness of three major changes made during the 2015 redesign. By doing user testing, we can make changes and refinements that serve our users and make optimal use of limited resources.

Institutions that agree to conduct tests will be provided with all the tools they need to conduct a well-formed test: a clear overview of the purpose of the testing, recruiting materials, scripts, worksheets for taking notes, a means for sharing results, and testing incentives for subjects. Working Group members will provide video-based training. As always, all practices will be in full compliance with best practices for handling human subjects. Alliance members who are part of the Archives & Manuscripts Collections Service are welcome to participate in this testing.

The anticipated schedule is:
  • Distribution of recruiting materials and testing overviews: March 10
  • Institutions begin recruiting subjects: March 13
  • Distribution of training, detailed testing materials: Week of March 27
  • Testing: April 3-14
  • Working groups compile information and create reports: April 17-21
  • The results of the work will be available after April 28
If you’ve never had the opportunity, you’ll find that conducting user tests is fun! Please plan to join us in this important work.

Discovery & Delivery

The Alma March release was installed on the sandbox environment on February 19th, and will move to production on Sunday, March 5th. Resource sharing and fulfillment updates, as well as related Alliance case information, can be found in this release summary.

Primo Release Testing Working Group - February Release
The Primo Release Testing Working Group worked with Alliance libraries to test the Primo February release, which is scheduled to be installed on the Alliance’s premium sandbox environment on Sunday, March 12. Documentation about the release is available on the PRTWG’s web page. Release notes can be found on the Ex Libris Knowledge Center page. The release primarily offers features for the new Primo user interface; however, a new option to activate a “Display Source Record” link also applies to the current user interface.

Normalization Rules Working Group
The Norm Rules Working Group and the Norm Rules Advisory Group have spent much of February working with the Unique Collections in the SILS Working Group to address several of the issues raised in their recent Issues Report. In March, the NRWG will start building and testing the normalization rule set that will support the Alliance’s grant-funded shared digital collections project, headed up by CCD’s Digital Collections Working Group.

Courier RFP
The Courier RFP Committee hosted in-person presentations from the two vendor finalists on Friday, February 24th at Lewis & Clark College. Presentations were streamed and recorded, shared with stakeholders, and a feedback form provided. The Committee collected 32 responses, from both Alliance and other participating libraries, and now moves to analysis and evaluation of both the presentations and the responses. The Committee will select the preferred respondent by March 10th, when they will present that selection and analysis to the Alliance Council. We are deeply grateful to the members of the Committee for their outstanding work and service, to Lewis & Clark for hosting the presentations and providing critical technology tools and support, and to to our engaged stakeholders who have taken the time to provide their feedback! We look forward to the results, and will share updates widely as we have them.

Summit & Fulfillment Day
Mark your calendars! Summit & Fulfillment Day returns, and will be held on Friday, August 4th at Clark College in Vancouver. More details and a planning survey are coming soon!

Shared Content

Ebook Central Migration
The migration of EBL and ebrary platforms to a combined Ebook Central platform has been rescheduled for March 28 and 29. Information on the migration and what it means for libraries and users is available at http://www.proquest.com/go/upgrade-ebookcentral. There is also an Alliance Proquest page at http://proquest.libguides.com/orbiscascadealliance which has links to training videos and other information.

Shared Content Team FY 2018 Priorities
Linda Di Biase and the current and incoming Team Chairs Gordon Aamot and Linda Crook met with the Alliance Board and other Team Chairs and Program Managers on February 10 to discuss priority Team projects for FY2018. More information on the process and outcomes will be shared in the near future.

DDA program
In February a few hundred titles that were duplicated in the Wiley and DDA collections were removed from the DDA. As of March 1, about $235,000 has been spent on DDA purchases and loans for this FY, a significant decline over last year, which reflects in part the decrease of our content pool because of publisher-initiated changes (such as the recent Cambridge and Oxford STL embargoes). The Ebook Working Group is beginning a process of considering alternatives to our current DDA and will be sharing more information with the SCT representatives in the coming months.

Wiley Evidence-Based Pilot
Wiley has provided us with library-specific usage data up through December 2016. Please see the Shared Content Program’s Wiley Online Library page for these statistics. The next quarterly Wiley usage report will provide the Working Group with information presented in such a way that it will be clear which titles have seen the broadest use across the Alliance, a key metric in our decisions about which titles we wish to own perpetually.  


Alma release update
The Alma March release will be installed on production on Sunday, March 5. The March release page includes links to the Release Notes (describing new functionality) and to a list of resolved issues.

Primo New UI Day
Save the date for the Primo New UI Day that will take place on June 12th at the White Stag building in Portland! This promises to be an exciting event, focusing on a full range of new UI-related topics to help libraries as they begin their transitions over the summer and fall terms. The initial range of topics includes:

  • Implementation models and campus communication strategies

  • Guidance and demos on configuring and customizing the new UI

  • A review of usability testing of the new UI across the Alliance

Planning for this event is underway, and we expect to have more info posted in the next couple of weeks. Until then, please feel free to contact Nathan Mealey (mealey@pdx.edu) with any questions about the event.

Primo enhancements
The Primo enhancements process is underway. Enhancement requests must be submitted to NERS (the enhancement tracking and voting system) by February 15 to be considered for this cycle. Alliance-level Primo enhancement requests are currently being solicited. More information on the process has been sent to Alliance ELUNA representatives.   

Next Systems Open Call
The next Systems Open Call is scheduled for Wednesday, March 22 from 11 AM to 12 Noon.

Analytics demos and documentation
The Systems Team has been including Analytics demos in our monthly open calls for the past several months. Several topics have been covered already, including a basic introduction to analytics, creating dashboards, and modifying the properties of analyses and tables, and documentation for all of these can be found on the Systems Documentation page. The demos can also be seen as part of the recorded open calls.

For future Analytics demos, keep your eyes open for the agendas for the monthly open Systems calls. And if you have a topic that you think should be included, please let us know!

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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