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At its June 2016 meeting, the Orbis Cascade Alliance Board suggested that we review how we work with the SILS, and the Council approved this project in July 2016.  Primary aims of the evaluation are to:

  • Describe how our work has been impacted by the SILS
  • Assess how the SILS contributes to our strategic agenda
  • Identify how we can work better with Ex Libris
  • Understand how we can deepen our collaboration
  • Identify obstacles to greater collaboration

As the Alliance”s current contract with Ex Libris expires in 2018, an additional aim of the evaluation is to assess how Ex Libris systems support our work. The evaluation will assist us as we decide how to proceed in any future contract.  

Faye A. Chadwell, Project Chair (and immediate past Board Chair) and Dana Bostrom, Executive Director join the rest of the Coordinating Group (Craig Milberg, Willamette; Annie Downey, Reed; Michael Boock, Oregon State) are working with Question Groups in these areas: 

  • Analyzing how processes have changed, and if for better or worse, and how to improve in:
    • Acquisitions & ERM
    • Network Zone
    • Reporting & Analytics
    • Resource Management
    • Fulfillment
    • Resource Sharing
    • Shared Collections
    • Unique Collections, discovery & resource management
    • Discovery interface
  • Review new areas of functionality for optimum use, such as:
    • Sandboxes
    • Network Zone
    • Consortial features
  • As well as some overall examination of features delivered, total cost of ownership and quality of service.
The survey was released for response on March 20, 2017.  An audio recording to explain and support the response process for Respondents was taped on March 17, 2017.

Open Call Recording:
Open call from June 2017 (Password Protected) 

Past Development Work:
In December 2016, the Coordinating Group released an updated work plan and a call for participation in a high level survey.  

In January 2017, Question Groups met to propose questions, and the Coordinating Group met to edit questions.  In February 2017, the Coordinating Group will work with Question Groups and beta testers to review the survey.  The Coordinating Group will also work with those designated to respond to the survey, to help them prepare for it.  We expect that the survey will be distributed in late February or early March, and be due back in late March.  Focus groups or other clarifying activities will follow.

A previous step involved survey construction.  This first high level step will complete a high level review of most areas of staff and library user experience with the SILS.  This high level analysis will help us identify areas for in-depth analysis in future phases.  

Question Groups were provided these materials as they constructed questions.


You may want to skip to the appendix to see the actual surveys

Survey of open source integrated library systems by Linda Riewe (2008 master”s thesis at San Jose State U)

Academic Library Directors' Perceptions of Joining a Large Library Consortium Sharing an Integrated Library System: A Descriptive Survey by Dennis Krieb (2011 thesis at University of Nebraska Lincoln

A short and older piece on approaches to evaluation (concepts of efficiency, effectiveness, success)

Evaluation strategies for library/information systems by Professor Tom Wilson

RFP Section on Staff Functions

RFP Section on Discovery & Delivery


We are asking you to suggest questions which help achieve our aims, in each area of key functionality.  The Coordinating Group will review, consolidate and revise questions for consistency before they are tested and then delivered to institutional contacts as a single coherent survey.  You may wish to browse through the portion of the Ex Libris RFP response pertaining to your functional area.  Please consider which system functions in your area we should ask about in the survey.  Questions should gauge:  

  • Effectiveness of the system in terms of this functionality
  • Benefits of the functionality
  • What is enabled now that was not before
The Coordinating Group will also ask questions about the importance of the feature.  Our goal is to identify actionable information.  

Thus, each Question Group will:

  1. Identify the core areas of functionality for your area in the SILS
  2. Suggest appropriate questions for the area
  3. Consider if you want to contribute a more "global" question outside your specific area of functionality (e.g. "Working with a Shared Database makes my work ___________" (Uses Ease scale below)

Question examples

Since migrating to Alma, my library”s________workflow is [more efficient to less efficient]

Batch processing Summit records in Alma (may want to name the module) is [easy to difficult]

The speed of checking out materials in Alma is [acceptable to not acceptable]

How effective are the Bib records in Alma

Suggested scales


  • Not Important
  • Somewhat Important
  • Important
  • Very Important


  • Not Efficient
  • Somewhat Efficient
  • Efficient
  • Very Efficient


  • Difficult
  • Somewhat Difficult
  • Easy
  • Very Easy

Question Groups: 


Rose Krause and Elizabeth Joffrion (co-chairs of CCD WG), Robin Champieux (OHSU)


Amanda Clark (Whitworth), Jane Carlin (UPS), Chelle Batchelor (UW)


Sue Shipman (WSU), Bill Kelm (Willamette), Claire Dannenbaum (LCC), Sara Brownmiller (UO), Rob Bohall (GFU), Stefanie Buck (OSU)

Shared Content

Rodney Birch (GFU), Amy Coughenour (Concordia), Linda Crook (Lane), Corey Murata (UW)


Maria McShane (Pacific), Mary Galvin (UO), Paul Ojennus (Whitworth), Kun Lin (Whitman), Al Cornish (Alliance), Hilary Robbeloth (UPS)

Tech Services

Karen Spence (PCC), Linnea Marshall (UI), Rami Attebury (UI), Tom Larsen (PSU), Ginny Blackson (CWU), Kathy Faust (L&C)