The RUL open source software team, Kalaivani Ananthan and Chad Mills, RUL Programming Coordinator, reported on the preparation of the Moving Image Collection open source software that had been developed for the Library of Congress, and which they have prepared for open source distribution. OpenMIC was developed by a team of designers and programmers, led by Dr. Yang Yu, database architect and Ananthan, open source applications manager. In developing MIC for the larger community, the team has removed some of the RUL policies that had been built into the software, so that other users can customize for their own needs. While this has taken some time, the group felt that this was a better way to envision building software for the future – keep it modular and free of specific institutional policies. This design is even good for Rutgers as it allows us to easily change policies in the software without major re-writing. We have already gotten requests from other institutions for the software, so we hope to make it available soon through our website. Ananthan has written the documentation that will allow users to install and use the software with minimal support. We hope to use this methodology at Rutgers, but we will offer more support to our own faculty and staff.
The team also discussed the WMS, ETD, and WAAND software, as each can also be used modularly with repositories or integrated library systems, and will eventually be made available as open source software as well. For Rutgers, the Libraries will continue to run and support the ETD software for other units and schools to use.
Agnew noted that Rutgers has developed expertise in TAS and the SCC to create software with major library and scholarly applications. In doing so, we may be able to manage state-wide or consortial-wide programs for which other institutions may pay us. This may become a revenue generating operation.
Cabinet noted that a demonstration of the software and its capabilities for the staff is needed. Cabinet also thanked the team for their excellent efforts on designing the software and the documentation and endorses the proposal to make it broadly available.
Gaunt reported that the Boards of SOLINET and PALINET had recently approved a merger of their two organizations and are now preparing information to share with the members of both organizations for a vote to approve the merger. The merger cannot take place without member approval. The voting period will probably be two to three weeks in January. The Boards are very enthusiastic about the potential of a larger organization to provide the clout and the staffing to address important issues into the future. OCLC has recently changed the relationships it has with the networks that will affect the financial arrangements and income for the networks.
PALINET sees a merger as one way of ensuring that the new organization is better positioned to attract OCLC service contracts. Both networks are aware of the financial constraints and are not planning to increase any member fees for the first year of a merger.
There has been a lot of informal discussion of budget reductions among research libraries recently. No institution – public or private – has been spared. Many planned reductions will have a major impact on operations and will elevate discussions on inter-institutional collaboration to a higher level. As a result, the ARL Board is meeting during the upcoming ALA meeting to discuss how the association can better position itself to support members through these trying times and to compare ideas on how libraries are planning to cope with such change.
The RU Administrative Council is meeting this afternoon and any news on the budget situation will be communicated.
A scholarly communication symposium is being planned for the spring; you will be notified when we finalize the date.
A template for collecting information about naming opportunities and gift ideas for the Libraries was prepared by Puniello and distributed. Gaunt noted that while we have our capital campaign priorities, we are often asked for potential gift ideas and naming opportunities over the course of the year when donors emerge for class gifts or from other foundation discussions with donors. This template is the first attempt to collect ideas from all the units. Some ideas will appear at various gift levels, such as collections. We want and will accept gifts at all levels. Endowments, however, must have a minimum of $25K to be established and "named." The cost of naming facilities will depend on the size, sophistication, and location of the space. Gaunt and Puniello will help Cabinet members decide where to list such gifts dependent on these factors. Just place the idea in one of the financial categories that you think applies, and we will review and place it in another financial category if necessary. Gifts may be general (collections) or specific (American History collections).
Please have the first drafts to Puniello and Gaunt by February 15, and we will compile the list for further discussion and keep it on our website for changes and additions. It is not necessary to "name" all gifts.
Gaunt distributed a list of all lines that are currently frozen with an indication of which ones will be returned in a budget reduction of $634K in salaries. Currently, we plan to return four faculty positions (1 Newark, 2 RIS, 1 TAS) and 6 staff positions (1 Admin, 3 RIS, 2 TAS). In order to meet the $634K figure necessary and return the least number of lines, the Libraries redistributed the dollars on the vacant faculty positions so that the four returned lines would each have $91,489 on them, but the remaining six vacancies would have much less than currently budgeted. The return of these positions was described in the memo to Executive VP Furmanski showing the ramifications of the reductions on support for research and instruction.
Gaunt noted that there are more positions now frozen than meet our give back needs as of July 1, 2009 if the target dollar figure remains the same. The unknown is whether there will be a financial give back in dollars this fiscal year, which would necessitate our keeping some of these lines frozen to accrue the additional salary savings to return this year. She noted that in order to recruit tenure-track positions on all six faculty lines we would need additional funding. A small amount could come from the reserve salary pool that is primarily used to fund reclassifications. An additional amount might come from the pool of additional money mandated by the union agreement to recruit for tenure-track faculty hires. Should we consider releasing some critical faculty and staff vacancies now, and wait until February to assess the economic climate. Should all vacancies be filled by July 1 and our target reduction is higher than planned, we would have to consider more serious measures to meet the reduction.
We decided to release a few faculty and staff lines now, and assess more hiring in February. We will bring these faculty positions up to tenure-track hiring levels using reserve funds. It was agreed to proceed with the Camden faculty position, a Newark faculty position, and an RIS faculty position. We would fill the evening supervisor position in RIS, and that Goodman would provide the salary information for the two Sharon Fordham Center staff positions that might not be recruitable at the current level.
We are hopeful that all the non-returned vacancies would be able to be filled over the course of the semester if there are no give-backs. In addition, Sewell was asked to prepare a wish list for collections that could be applied to the salary savings accrual if we do not need them to be returned this year.