University Librarian's Cabinet: Minutes of the March 1, 2011 Meeting

Agnew, Boyle, Fetzer, Fredenburg, Fultz, Gardner, Gaunt, Golden (VC), Izbicki, Niessen, Puniello, Winston (VC)

University Librarian's Report - Gaunt

Gaunt noted that the entire Cabinet meeting would be devoted to digital priorities to provide a context for a common understanding of the choices in where we put staff resources in the best interests of our user community. This discussion should also inform our decision of whether we can invest in the Kuali OLE build project at this time.

Gaunt thanked everyone who came to State of the Libraries; will explore other locations that have opportunities for videoconferencing to the other campuses.

There is a review of Web-scale discovery tools – Summon, EBSCO Discovery Services, and WorldCat Local – in the July 2010 issue (v. 12#1) of the Charleston Advisor. The article gives a good overview of the merits of each; none provide complete coverage of all resources.

Developing Digital Priorities – Gaunt

The choices we make in determining what we will do related to digital projects – developing our information technology infrastructure, digitizing collections, providing a new digital service, improving our website, etc., are staff intensive, and occasionally require the purchase of equipment or an investment in software. Some projects cannot be started without the "scaffolding" in place, which means that other work must be done first before the real project can start. The staff we have to put towards one project may be the same staff we need for another, so we can’t do both at the same time. This requires project sequencing. Other projects can go on simultaneously because different staff are involved, or the same staff are not required to invest all of their time in a single project. Our choices and priorities should be made with the user in mind – what is the best investment we can make to improve information access for learning or research – balanced against technology changes that will improve staff workflow. These choices need also to be made in the context of staffing resources to make it happen. In most cases, the projects involved will require central staff support.

Cabinet brainstormed about all the areas of potential interest to get a perspective of the environment for change—from services, website, digitizing collections, RUcore, discovery tools, portals, e-journals, data, digital exhibitions, databases, instructional technology, etc. While some of the areas where we want to change will become priorities in the strategic plan, we will need a process for determining proprieties for specific digital projects, many of which come from university faculty. Most projects cannot be completed without central technology support, and because some involved sustainability, they present a long-term investment. We agreed to have a separate discussion related to process.

Potential Kuali OLE Build Participation – Agnew

As background for the Cabinet discussion, Agnew distributed to Cabinet a "Strawman for Kuali Cabinet Discussion," which also had been uploaded to Sakai. Agnew explained that the genesis of this discussion is that in 2007, we were invited to participate in the OLE design project for an open source new library system; a number of staff were involved for two years. Because we were being supported by Mellon, we were given a time framework and guidelines about software development that would fit Mellon's priority for developing a complete higher education suite for managing all the processes of the university. Mellon had funded two projects that Rutgers is using – Sakai and university portals (Uportals). Rutgers is one of the heaviest Sakai users, and our portal "My Rutgers", which is probably the most popular tool on campus, is a Uportals implementation.

Mellon liked the result of the design project and agreed to fund the build project. For several reasons, the OLE Build project has had a slow start; positive results of the delay are that the OLE Build team is very happy with Kuali Rice, a support layer that provides the basic services that accomplish workflows. The leaders of the Kuali OLE team have visited Rutgers for a meeting with the VALE OLE teams and the VALE Executive Board; they expressed a strong interest in having VALE (or Rutgers) participate in Build. There would be a fee for participation in line with what the other partners contributed and could include specific “in kind” services. In design, OLE is fundamentally different in its approach to library workflows. OLE is designed for maximum future flexibility and for close integration with higher education administrative systems. It is also designed to be very friendly to consortial or collaborative use, with the ability to customize portals and services by participating organizations. A challenging aspect of this design is that the preparation and training for a system that does not look the same or work the same as legacy systems in use will be substantial.

We need to decide where the new system falls in our priorities and whether a greatly improved discovery layer mould mitigate most of our immediate concerns with our current ILS implementation, at least for the next 3-5 years. The faculty/staff who would probably invest time and effort in Kuali OLE are the original design team, along with the addition of others, who all have other assignments, and while none would devote themselves full time to OLE, there would be identifiable trade-offs: fewer grants, fewer customized routines and additional services for SIRSI, fewer digital collections created, possibly one annual version of RUcore rather than two, and slower changes to the IRIS catalog and some web services.

After some discussion of tradeoffs, it was determined that at this time we have greater needs in other RUL projects that would have to be put on hold, and that we will invest the resources needed at the OLE implementation stage. Gaunt will let VALE know so that they can consider this in their response to the OLE team.


Boyle: The action grid for mid year is up on the Sakai site; if you upload a new version, make sure you’ve done it in the last couple of minutes.

Izbicki: Have a meeting with e-book vendors about a pilot project; on the budget side, state funds are well in hand; please remember that the cut-off date for most orders is the middle of this month.

Agnew: Mary Beth Weber and Fay Austin wrote a book on "Cataloging Non-book, Electronic, Web and Networked Resources: A How-to-do-it Manual and CD-ROM for Librarians." It has a website associated with it that they are committed to maintaining for a year; their book with be included in the Celebration of Recently Published Faculty Authors event. In addition, Weber has been asked by SCI to review their cataloging and metadata curriculum.

Ryan Womack will be giving his first “Data Management and RUresearch” presentation and discussion in the SCC tomorrow at 1 p.m. You are encouraged to attend.

Izbicki: The RIS search committee has its first meeting next Tuesday; recruited a member of the English department for the committee. Fredenburg noted that diversity training for the search committee still has to be completed.

Fetzer: Rutgers has received confirmation of the multi-institutional grant from USAID-- $18.5M—to help rebuild the University of Liberia; Rutgers' share of the $18.5 M has not yet been announced. Thanks to Marty Kesselman for helping develop the Libraries' portion of the proposal, which is to develop an Agricultural Center of Excellence; unsure how much the Libraries will receive from Rutgers' share. Marty and Connie Wu have also submitted a grant proposal to another funding group for a comparable engineering center of excellence at the University of Liberia.

Alexander Library completed its public access interview with the Government Printing Office; rather than having inspectors, they now have outreach librarians and emphasize public access. Newark and Camden are likely to be contacted if not already. Two recommendations from the report received from GPO are to post the FDLP decal on the Libraries' home page and to continue retrospective conversion of our federal collections.

Puniello: The cafe construction in Alexander has been delayed.

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