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Orbis Cascade Alliance Council Meeting

January 20-21, 2005
Portland Community College
Sylvania Campus Library, Room 204

David Bilyeu (COCC), Tom Peischl (CWU), Leonoor Ingraham-Swets (Clark), Shirley Roberts (EOU) by phone, 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), Karyle Butcher (OSU), Ben Wakashige (Pacific), Berniece Owen (PCC), Terry Rohe (PSU), Vickie Hanawalt (Reed), Dalia Hagan (SMC), Ray Doerksen (SPU), Sue Burkholder (SOU), Deb Carver (UO), Caroline Mann for Rich Hines (UP), Karen Fischer (UPS), Betsy Wilson (UW), Ginny Steel (WSU), Gary Jensen (WOU), Joni Roberts (WU), Béla Foltin (WWU), Henry Yaple (Whitman).

Absent: John Popko (SU)

Consortium staff: John F. Helmer, Nancy Nathanson

Guest on Thursday afternoon: Nana Lowell, Director of the UW Office of Educational Assessment

The meeting was chaired by Pat Kelley.

1. Introductions
Berniece Owen, Leslie Riester (PCC Associate Vice President, Information Technology) and Guy Sievert (PCC Vice President for Academic & Student Services) welcomed Council to Portland Community College.

2. Review of agenda

3. Minutes from October 7 - 8, 2004 (Kelley)
  Approved as written.

4. Reports
Executive Committee (Kelley)
Kelley summarized Executive Committee's December 8 meeting. Highlights included:

  • Decision to prepare an application for the first NWACC Excellence Award. General discussion about the ways in which the Alliance and NWACC might work together.
  • Selection of Vickie Hanawalt as Council mentor for Helen Spalding (PSU)
  • Approval of request to form a Reference Interest Group
  • Determination of questions to include in a survey of member digitizing projects.
  • Finalizing Collection Development and Management Committee charge and membership.
  • Kelley reviewed potential Council discussion topics and asked Council members to forward additional ideas to her.

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

  • Summit Update
  • Electronic Resources Program Update for July-December 2004
  • Regional Library Services Center
  • Collective Purchase for III Electronic Resources Module: Helmer expanded on his written report by noting that participating members received credits of $1,750 to $2,750 each with a total credit of $28,700.
  • Center for Research Libraries Proposal: Butcher asked for feedback on CRL's group membership model. In general, Council members felt that CRL membership fees are too high for the benefit derived.
  • Courier RFP: Foltin noted that WWU has experienced poor courier service and asked if this is a system-wide problem. Helmer explained that WWU, EWU and TESC are all experiencing unacceptable service and that Alliance staff have been working with Lanter to resolve the problem. At any given time a few of the 62 dropsites experience severe problems but overall the system continues to work very well.
  • Reference Interest Group
  • Executive Committee Elections
  • Conferences

Nathanson provided a brief report on early Pick-up Anywhere statistics. Council expressed an interest in seeing such stats from time to time. Nathanson will prepare a report.

5. Council meeting schedule (Kelley)
 Council reviewed the following meeting schedule

  • April 14-15, 2005: Southern Oregon University, Ashland
  • July 14-15, 2005: Lewis & Clark College, Portland
  • October 13-14, 2005: WWU, Bellingham
  • January 12-13, 2006: Pacific University, Forest Grove
  • April 13-14, 2006: University of Washington, Seattle
  • July 13-14, 2006: Portland or Vancouver

Council expressed a continuing interest in investigating teleconferencing options, especially for the January meeting. ICCL and OUS libraries all have teleconferencing equipment available. For Executive Committee's next meeting (March 11), ICCL and OUS will report back on options. Aspects to consider include system compatibility, need for and availability of a bridge for connecting several sites, scheduling, appropriate regional groupings, costs, and technical support staffing during a teleconference.

6. Summit Catalog Task Force report (Kelley)
Discussion on Thursday, decision on Friday.
Carolynne Myall (SCTF Chair) joined Council by phone on Thursday to review the SCTF report. Myall noted that recurring Summit challenges will probably include the fact that INN-Reach systems do not allow centralized database maintenance (i.e., the union catalog is only updated as a result of updates made in local systems), the existence of batches of inferior records, and the challenge of cataloging electronic resources. When asked about staff that might serve on such a committee, Myall noted the importance of the catalog to all library staff and endorsed the concept of a committee with "varied membership."

Council member were impressed by the thoroughness and readability of the report and asked Myall to convey Council's thanks to the task force.

Recommendation 1.a.
"The TF recommends that Council appoint a standing Summit Catalog Committee, to identify, plan for, and address emerging issues related to database quality and usability. "

MOTION: Hagan moved to adopt Recommendation 1.a.
SECOND: Peischl
Council members discussed the relative merits of forming a committee, task force, or some other kind of group. Discussion largely focused on charge and committee membership. Council's wide-ranging discussion included the following concepts:

  • Necessity for such a committee to provide advice to Council on this important resource
  • Desire for a charge that addresses future challenges rather than examining past decisions or the detail of daily operation
  • Concern about the potential long timeline, cost, and unwieldy nature of a large committee
  • Sense that the steering team model will address concerns about large committees
  • The report lists many issues but not all are of equal import; need to focus on those areas where return is greatest for the effort expended
  • Strong support for a group with varied input and perspectives, general sense that what is needed is a "catalog" rather than a "cataloging" group.
  • Support for the concept of having the EC select members of both the committee and steering team so that the resulting groups include members with varied background and skills. This could be accomplished by allowing Council members to offer more than one potential representative.
  • Usefulness of pooled knowledge and potential for staff development
  • Need for Council to be involved, as with all committees

VOTE: Yes: 30, No: 0, Abstain: 0. Recommendation approved unanimously.

Charge: Committee charge will be drafted by Executive Committee and, like the CDMC charge, will include both a broad charge and specific tasks or projects for the first year. Areas of particular interest are those directed toward quickly evolving topics (e.g., electronic resources) and future challenges (e.g., relationship of Summit to internet search engines like Google).

Membership: Council members will have the option to designate more than one potential member with final composition of the committee and steering team determined by Executive Committee. In making appointments, Executive Committee's goal is to create a broadly representative committee and steering team composed of staff with experience in cataloging, reference, usability, systems, etc.

Recommendation 1.b.
"The TF recommends that Council develop mechanisms for gathering data, on a modest level, about user behavior and use of the system apart from circulation functions. "
MOTION: Fischer moved to adopt Recommendation 1.b.
DISCUSSION: The general sense among Council members was that this is already happening elsewhere and that the committee will need to maintain focus in other areas.
VOTE: Yes: 6, No: 18, Abstain: 1. Recommendation 1.b. not approved.

Recommendation 2.1.
"The TF recommends that the Alliance discontinue the current 'Guidelines for Cataloging Electronic Resources.'”
MOTION: Hagan moved to adopt Recommendation 2.1.
DISCUSSION: Council members agreed that the guidelines are outdated.
VOTE: Yes: 30, No: 0, Abstain: 0. Recommendation 2.1 approved unanimously.

Recommendation 2.2.
"The TF recommends that Council ask the Summit Catalog Committee, if created, to determine how Alliance libraries are treating electronic resources, what their plans are for the next one-to-two years, and what the impact of use of WebBridge, SFX, and similar linking products is on practice with regard to the 856 field. Then the Committee should revise and streamline the Guidelines to include realistic options within the current environment. "
MOTION: Peischl moved to adopt Recommendation 2.2.
SECOND: Fischer
VOTE: Yes: 27 (estimated), No: 1, Abstain: 2. Recommendation 2.2 approved.

Recommendation 2.3.
"The TF recommends that Council determine how records for licensed electronic resources are used at Summit institutions that do not have access to them and that cannot borrow the electronic versions."
MOTION: Motion was made to adopt Recommendation 2.3. (minute taker missed the name of the person making this motion)
SECOND: Seconded (minute taker missed the name of the person seconding this motion)
DISCUSSION: Electronic resources continue to change and cause challenges in the catalog. General sense among Council members was that the committee will need to maintain focus in other areas.
VOTE:  Yes: 0, No: 27 (estimated), Abstain: 2. Recommendation 2.3 not approved.

7. Financial report: income & expenses, reserve (Helmer)
 Helmer presented two reports and noted the very substantial role of Debi Place in tracking and preparing such financial information:

Actual to Budget Comparison: July - December 2004: income and expense in each project area follow a predictable pattern throughout the year (e.g., courier fees collected early in the FY and then paid to vendor on a monthly basis). Income and expense are on track for FY05. Council accepted this report without revision.

Reserve funds at the close of FY04: Helmer indicated that his intent is to close the books on the pre-merger financial history of the consortium and use this report to both summarize and explain the sources of the Orbis Cascade Alliance reserve. Helmer noted that policies concerning the reserve have not been examined in some time and suggested that Council consider how such funds are distributed (e.g., system vs. general reserve) as well as circumstances under which reserve funds are expended. Council accepted this report without revision.

DECISION: Council asked Executive Committee to review and propose policies for the management of reserve funds. Topics of interest include the amount and purpose of system reserve, expenditure of general reserve, and distribution of funds should Council decide to discontinue the consortium or change its legal status.

8. III Development Partnership for INN-Reach Non-Returnables Module (Helmer)
Helmer reported: At the July 2004 retreat, Council approved two new service initiatives

  • "Develop Mechanism for Using Summit for Journal Article Sharing Service"
  • "Design a New Concept of Collection Development for RLSC"

The latter task has been assigned to CDMC. Helmer and Nathanson have been working with III to clarify the costs and functionality associated with entering in to a development partnership to create an INN-Reach non-returnables module. Council reviewed Helmer's January 11, 2005 memo and III's INN-Reach Non-Returnables Development Project dated August 4, 2004.

Council discussion included the following:

  • Concern that the need for article requesting will decline as the extent of electronic access increases
  • Would all member institutions agree to participate?
  • Are holdings in Summit recorded in such a way as to make requesting sufficiently accurate?
  • Regardless of the technology used, are collections within the Alliance membership able to fill most needs?
  • Is there enough duplication in holdings to make load balancing possible?
  • To what extent can the Alliance influence the functionality described by III?
  • What are the costs (financial and human resources) associated with such a project?
  • Need for data about ILL requests at member libraries

DECISION: Council approved continuing this discussion with III, noting that more information will be needed before Council can vote on entering in to such a partnership.

DECISION: Council asked Helmer to pose the following questions to III:

  1. If we entered in to a development partnership, to what extent would the Alliance be able to influence the way this module works? In other words, is the functionality largely fixed at this point or is III willing and able to incorporate additional input on how it would work?
  2. What would such a development partnership cost, both financially and in terms of a commitment of human resources?
  3. Council members have great respect for III's proven ability to analyze potential development ideas and pursue only those features that appear to have long-term and wide-spread value. Given this strong track record, what is III's assessment of the long-term value of an INN-Reach non-returnables module compared with other methods for meeting such needs?

DECISION: Council will ask Collection Development and Management Committee (CDMC) to gather ILL data on journal article requests for one month to determine

  1. Number of journal articles requested from within or without the Alliance membership
  2. Number of article requests that could have been filled from within the Alliance membership
  3. Number of copies of those articles that could have been filled from within the Alliance membership
  4. The potential effectiveness of load balancing journal article requests

CDMC will be asked to complete the study by April and, to the extent practical, the committee is encouraged to provide Council with observations concerning fill rate, load balancing, and other factors related to article requesting within the consortium. The April deadline was chosen to avoid spring break and to ensure that information is available in time for Council discussion on April 14-15.

This ILL data, together with additional cost information from III, will be used to help determine the potential cost and benefit of an investment in non-returnables technology that is confined to Alliance members. It may also be used to determine the potential for filling such requests as returnables (i.e., circulating serial volumes).

9. Extending Summit Borrowing privileges to donors (Kelley)
 Council discussed the merits and complications of allowing Council members to extend Summit Borrowing privileges to a small number of special library supporters (e.g., donors).

Council discussion included the following

  • Concern about "selling" SB privileges
  • Would this include friends of the library?
  • Extent of services offered: would it include on-site borrowing?
  • Concern about expanding the use of another library's materials
  • Should the number of such borrowers be based on the size (as measured by FTE) of the member institution?
  • General agreement that Alliance staff should provide a standard way to code such borrowers.so that reports can be more readily generated

DECISION: Council approved an experimental expansion of Summit Borrowing privileges as follows:

"At their discretion, each Council member may extend Summit Borrowing privileges, including on-site visiting patron, to a small number of special library supporters. The maximum number of such borrowers at each member institution is 10. This policy will be assessed by Council prior to its expiration on December 31, 2006."

10. NorthWest Academic Computing Consortium (NWACC) Excellence Award application (Kelley)
Council reviewed the application drafted by Helmer.

DECISION: Approved for submission to NWACC.

Council feels that there is a clear shared interest between NWACC and the Alliance. Some Council members are also members of NWACC's board and the membership overlap is now 74%.

11. Walla Walla College membership application (Kelley)
Council reviewed WWC's application and reaffirmed the policy that every member institution must directly participate as a dropsite in the courier system. Any member may choose to support additional dropsites (e.g., serving other campuses or branches) as determined by institutional needs.

Beyond clarifying the division of collections between WWC branch libraries, access to the courier system, and potential impact on Summit Borrowing service, Council had no concerns specific to WWC. Following normal procedures, Executive Committee will visit WWC in February or March with Council vote expected in April.

Council members wished Ray Doerksen well as he departs for Palm Beach Atlantic University. Thank you Ray!

Council members wished Dalia Hagan well as she departs for Whitman College. Congratulations Dalia, we are glad you are still part of Council!

Minutes: John F. Helmer