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Council Meeting Minutes #9: April 14-15, 2005

Orbis Cascade Alliance Council Meeting

April 14-15, 2005
Lenn and Dixie Hannon Library
Southern Oregon University  

Agenda with links to documents

David Bilyeu (COCC), Tom Peischl (CWU), Leonoor Ingraham-Swets (Clark), Shirley Roberts (EOU), Pat Kelley (EWU), Lee Lyttle (TESC), Merrill Johnson (GFU), Jim Kopp (L&C), Susan Barnes Whyte (Linfield), Nancy Hoover (Marylhurst), Jan Marie Fortier (MHCC), Jim Morgan (OHSU), Marita Kunkel (OIT), Bonnie Allen for Karyle Butcher (OSU), Emily Asch for Ben Wakashige (Pacific), Berniece Owen (PCC), Helen Spalding (PSU), Scot Harrison for Dalia Hagan (SMC), Joyce Erickson (SPU), John Popko (SU), Sue Burkholder (SOU), Deb Carver (UO), Rich Hines (UP), Karen Fischer (UPS), Pam Mofjeld for Betsy Wilson (UW), Lynn Chmelir for Ginny Steel (WSU), Jeananne Rockwell-Kincanon for Gary Jensen (WOU), Joni Roberts (WU), Rob Lopresti for Bela Foltin (WWU), Henry Yaple (Whitman).

Absent: Vickie Hanawalt (Reed)

Consortium staff: John F. Helmer, Travis Honea, Nancy Nathanson (by phone for agenda item number 7)

Guest on Friday morning: Joseph W. Janes, Associate Professor & Associate Dean for Academics, Information School, UW. Dr. Janes led Council in a discussion of "The Future of Reference Service in Academic Libraries."

The meeting was chaired by Pat Kelley.

1. Introductions
New members of Council:

Helen Spalding, PSU
Joyce Erickson, interim director, SPU
Scot Harrison, proxy for this meeting, interim director beginning in May 2005, SMC

Leonoor Ingraham-Swets announced that she is retiring from her position at Clark College and that this will be her last Council meeting.

2. Review of agenda
Agenda item #7 scheduled for 2pm on Thursday
Agenda item #9: order will be reversed (LCC, WWC)

3. Minutes from January 20-21, 2005 (Kelley)
  Approved as written.

4. Reports
Executive Committee (Kelley)
Kelley reported on
  • Meetings with Steering Teams for the Electronic Resources and Summit Borrowing Committees. Both groups are working well.
  • Site visits to Walla Walla College and Lane Community College

Executive Director (Helmer)
Helmer reviewed his written report covering the following topics:

  • Executive Committee for FY06
  • Policy Concerning the Appropriate Use of OCLC Records in Summit
  • Mt. Hood Community College: active on Summit Borrowing as of April 4
  • Courier RFP
  • Committee Activity
  • Potential for III group purchase
  • Acquisitions Institute at Timberline Lodge, May 14-17, 2005
  • Western Digital Forum, Focus on Newspaper Digitization, Aug. 11-12, 2005
  • Northwest Academic Library Directors Symposium: Butcher has withdrawn from the conference committee. A date for the event has not yet been determined.
  • Attendance at Conferences

Helmer provided a summary of discussions with OCLC concerning Group Services. Potential products include unlimited WorldCat, Cataloging, and ILL; group catalog; WorldCat Collection Analysis; Illiad; Content DM; and netLibrary. Helmer will work with Executive Committee to determine next steps.

5. Regional Library Services Center (Helmer)
Helmer reviewed RLSC progress:

Dill & Co. produced a draft report which was reviewed by Hanawalt, Helmer, and Executive Committee on March 11. The final draft is expected by May 1 and will incorporate information from facilities contacts at Reed College, OHSU, and Linfield College.

Carver is scheduled to meet with the Academic Council (provosts) of the Oregon University System to discuss RLSC. RLSC is currently included in the OUS capital construction budget for FY07/09.

DECISION: Council approved having Helmer organize a second funding group meeting. The purpose of this meeting will be to review Dill & Company costs estimates, discuss the RLSC funding model, secure commitments and discuss sources of foundation support. Participants will be

  • Library director and campus financial administrator from likely Founding Depositors and potential host sites: UO, OSU, PSU, OHSU, Reed, Linfield
  • John Popko (SU), providing a perspective from members not planning to store materials in the near term.
  • Charles Chamberlin (UW), providing a UW perspective.

Yaple indicated that Whitman College may be able to supply land at a low cost in return for storing materials at a reduced rate. Helmer noted that the site selection process began with Orbis prior to merger and suggested that several new locations might be offered if Council were to reopened site discussions.

When asked about a likely timeline for occupancy Helmer responded that, although construction time is fairly short for such buildings, the primary determinant is availability of funding.

Some Council members expressed an interest in discussing Paul Gehrman's "A Proposed Virtual Storage System" at a future Council meeting.

6. FY06 Budget (Helmer)
Council reviewed the draft budget prepared by Helmer and revised by Executive Committee. Discussion included

  • potential reimbursement of article net-lenders via the Alliance budget
  • should there be an increase in the travel pool allocated to member libraries?
  • should a separate courier reserve be created?
  • should a larger amount be allocated to support teleconferencing expenses? Helmer noted that ICCL and OUS reports on teleconference options have not be received yet and potential costs are unknown.

MOTION: Owen moved to have Helmer and EC revise the budget and seek adoption via email.
SECOND: Burkholder
VOTE: Council voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

ACTION: Helmer will work with Executive Committee to revise the budget as follows:

  • Add "and 'new initiative'" to Income note 2.
  • Examine how the "new initiative" and "new member" expense columns relate to the reserve and determine if there is a better or clearer way to present this information.
  • Clarify the meaning of the last two columns in the Membership Fees worksheet (total change and percent change in fees paid by current members) and add figures for the change and percent change in the total budget.

Budget will be revised, distributed to Council, and a vote taken by email.

ACTION: In order to plan for the future, Executive Committee was asked to work with Helmer to create a conceptual budget based on no growth in membership.

ACTION: Executive Committee will consider an appropriate mechanism for determining what the "new initiative" will be.

7. Resource Sharing at the Article Level
Chmelir reviewed the Collection Development and Management Committee's report concerning the Article Supplier Study assigned by Council in January. Nancy Nathanson joined Council by phone to answer questions about the data analysis.

Topics explored included:

  • recorders had difficulty interpreting holdings in Summit due to the widely varying practice among member libraries.
  • although statistics for requests that are owned by only one library are very low, how often are requested articles only available from a small subset of Alliance members? For example, how many times are the titles available from only a few libraries, but they are the same libraries as those most hard hit as the single holding library? The study did not specifically address this question but such information might be available with further data analysis.
  • how do we explain the disparity between actual and potential fill rate for those libraries that have Alliance members at the top of their ILL queue? Example: 44% of OSU requests were filled by Alliance members in November 2004 but the study indicates that 75% could have been filled by Alliance members.
  • given that the data exclude electronic journals and situations where the recorder was uncertain of holdings, the results should be conservative. i.e., if anything, more should be available within the Alliance.

In an outstanding performance worthy of the Ashland stage, Deb Carver debated herself and facilitated a conversation about why Council should or should not pursue a development partnership with III. Helmer also reviewed III's answers to questions posed by Council at the January meeting. Ideas presented by Carver and other Council members included the following.

Why would we move forward with a development partnership?

  • Council's top priority from the July 2004 retreat
  • we can see that there is a good proof of concept in the RAPID system
  • users would be very pleased
  • the statistics are conservative yet show great promise
  • users want a seamless self-initiated system and, at present, this service is all chopped up
  • although it is very effective, RAPID is not an end-user service
  • OCLC costs would drop. Even with subscription pricing there is occasional recalibration, thus costs would eventually decline
  • such a service that is confined to Alliance members would present a great opportunity for cooperative CD
  • from a institutional perspective, UO is a net lender to all libraries in Oregon and Washington
  • doubts about OCLC's ability to create a similar service (end-user driven, fast, inexpensive)
  • ILL is great and has come a long way very fast but the past is not important. We need to look at user needs and expectations now and in the future: unmediated, end-user driven, fast, low cost access to journal article literature
  • confidence in III's ability to deliver
  • we must find ways to decrease cost per item and increase patron satisfaction
  • if not III, then what is our next alternative for addressing this concern?
  • input from the Alliance's diverse membership would improve product development
Why would we NOT move forward with a development partnership?
  • disruption to the status quo and workflow
  • requires scarce staff time
  • product development will mean living with bugs and problems
  • need to retrain users
  • success is a double-edged sword. If something like this really worked well, could we meet the demand generated?
  • there will be a disproportionate demand on some institutions
  • OCLC can and should do this for us
  • serial holdings are a mess. The system would either not work well or would require a huge effort to improve and standardize data.
  • "could be filled" is not the same as "would be filled"
  • doubts about the real promise of cooperative CD
  • questions about III's ability to make this work
  • where would requests go if they are not filled via Summit?
  • desire to support open systems
  • OCLC WorldCat has so much more to offer, why shrink the universe of options?
  • Summit would be just one more source and would not replace the need for ILL
  • ILL has come a long way in the last few years, is very good now, and is getting better all the time.
  • there are better uses of our time and money
  • we could wait for others to develop the III product and then adopt if it seems worthwhile

Other thoughts

  • perhaps a committee should look at options
  • to enter into a development partnership means going out on the leading (or bleeding) edge. This must be central to our mission if we are to take it on.
  • III is asking for too large a financial commitment. We would be providing a great deal of staff time for product development and should offer a lower financial contribution.
  • How many Alliance members have link resolvers? Answer: ~15

Kelley suggested that Council members consider two questions:

Q1: If there are six or more members that would like to participate in a non-returnables development partnership with III, does Council approve of such a project with start-up funding from the reserve and the investment of consortium staff time?

Q2: Will your institution participate and fund the per-institution annual costs quoted by III?

Discussion centered on human resource and financial costs.

MOTION: Popko moved to allocate $20,000 from the reserve and approve Alliance participation in the proposed non-returnables development partnership with III, if there are six or more institutions that would like to participate.

DISCUSSION: Popko clarified his intent that no annual fees from individual Alliance libraries engaged in the development partnership would be included in Council's offer to III. Time period for the development partnership should also be part of any agreement.


VOTE: Yes - 20 votes, No - 5 votes, Abstain - 2 votes.

DECISION: Council members wish to share information regarding pros and cons and consult with staff before making a decision regarding participation. The process agreed to is as follows:

May 6: Deadline to submit comments. Staff at Alliance member libraries will be encouraged to send comments or other evaluative information to Helmer. This information will be posted on the Council web page.
May 13: Deadline for decisions. Helmer will poll Council members to determine the extent of interest in participation. If six or more members wish to participate, he will contact III to negotiate terms consistent with Popko's motion.


  • Council wishes to express its appreciation to CDMC, Alliance staff, and staff at all member libraries for the very great effort required to produce the Article Supplier Study and report.
  • Diane Carroll (OHSU) will work with the Article Supplier Data to identify titles or publishers that appear to hold the greatest promise for electronic title sharing (e.g., Spring/Kluwer). Her results will be shared with the Electronic Resources Committee.
  • Nathanson will work with the Article Supplier Data to determine how often particular subsets of Alliance members are the sole suppliers.


Morgan reviewed a memo explaining OHSU's decision to begin charging Washington libraries for ILL. The motivations for this move are 1) to increase income, and 2) to decrease the number of requests (and thus staff time). OHSU's primary aim is to reduce the number of requests.

8. Executive Director evaluation (Kelley)
Council met in executive session.

9. Membership discussion and vote (Kelley)
Lane Community College (LCC)
Kelley reviewed findings from Executive Committee's visit to LCC. Council discussed the application.

MOTION: Kopp moved to approve LCC's application.
SECOND: Fortier
VOTE: Council voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

Walla Walla College (WWC)
Kelley reviewed findings from Executive Committee's visit to WWC and noted that discussions at WWC had caused EC to consider member access to the courier system. Noting WWC's expressed willingness to join the courier system as a dropsite (thus fulfilling a membership requirement), Kelley asked that the broader courier topic be considered separately from WWC's application. Council discussed the application.

MOTION: Yaple moved to approve WWC's application.
VOTE: Council voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

ACTION: Helmer will work with Executive Committee on letters offering membership to LCC and WWC.

Courier service
WWC is fiscal agent for and in close proximity to the dropsite at Whitman College. As such WWC is a "forwarding site" along with Walla Walla Community College and Walla Walla Public Library. WWC has requested time to forewarn their partners in courier service if they are to withdraw from the Whitman dropsite and begin a WWC dropsite. There are budgetary and workflow implications that make such notice necessary.

Kelley reported that this request caused Executive Committee to re-evaluate the circumstances under which a member needs to become a dropsite. EC recommends that Council continue to support the Alliance's service goals while thinking more broadly about the way in which those goals are achieved. In short, there may be circumstances in which a library can achieve acceptable turnaround time as a forwarding site (e.g., just-in-time processing and quick access to a dropsite), thus saving the cost of becoming a dropsite.

Council members generally agreed but felt that joining the courier system has been a very good way to ensure fast patron service. Others suggested that the volume of Summit Borrowing would make transfer from forwarding site to dropsite very cumbersome and would push WWC to become a dropsite within a year of two. Others suggested that there might be labeling or other workflow concerns for member libraries and that the Summit Borrowing Committee should be consulted. Several Council members suggested a study of Summit Borrowing performance in the near future. Helmer noted that there is much to such a study if the data is to be meaningful. He suggested that this be done once the new courier service is in place and (if we are using a new vendor) up to speed.

Council is interested in better understanding the factors that impact fast and efficient Summit Borrowing service. To this end, Executive Committee is encouraged to consider local workflows, scheduling, access to courier service, etc. and bring to Council's attention any findings or recommendations for revisions to practice or policy. Summit Borrowing Committee will be a key resource in such an investigation.

Note: the following two decisions were not explicit in Council's discussion but are offered as Executive Committee's interpretation of Council's intent.

DECISION: Council approved WWC's request to remain a forwarding site until July 1, 2006 but also asked that the college prepare to become a dropsite after that date.

DECISION: EC was asked to examine Summit Borrowing service expectations and advise Council on the implications of a member accessing the courier system as a forwarding site. As part of its investigation, it is expected that EC will consult with the Summit Borrowing Committee and consortium staff about workflow, shipping accuracy, and performance implications for Summit Borrowing. While WWC may provide a useful test case, recommendations should be general in nature and apply to all members.

10. Retreat: July 14-15, Lewis & Clark College (Kelley)
Council ran out of time for this agenda item.

[Executive Committee later decided to forward this topic to a July business meeting and reschedule the retreat for October.]

Minutes: Honea & Helmer