From the Executive Director, Elijah Scott


Elijah Scott

Our fall semester is off to a somewhat dramatic start, mainly due to Hurricane Irma. I hope that everyone at each of our member libraries weathered the storm with as little damage as possible. For some of us, Irma blew through with only minor damage in her wake, but for others, it will likely be some time before things get back to normal. As always, our staff here at FALSC are prepared to help you and your students in any way that we can.

I'm quite surprised to find that a full year has passed since I joined FALSC in the role of Executive Director! Oct. 9 marks my first anniversary with this organization. My colleague Chrissy Cogar marks her first on Oct. 11, and other FALSC staff are passing considerably longer milestones this month. Renee Sandstrum and Robert Dixon both pass the six-year mark in October. Brenda Rutten and John Sandstrum have achieved 17 years, Tammy Elliott has reached 25 years, and Mike Neff celebrates 25 years. I'd like to congratulate and thank all of these FALSC staff members for their years of dedicated service to the students, faculty, and staff of our Florida colleges and universities!

Last month, I discussed textbook affordability and open education resources (OER) in the context of upcoming events in Florida. Unfortunately, both the Florida OER Summit and the subsequent textbook affordability and OER presentation at the MCLS meeting were cancelled due to Hurricane Irma. However, both events have been rescheduled. The OER Summit will be Feb. 7-8, 2018. It is critical that our libraries have strong participation in the OER conversation, so I hope to see as many of you as possible at this event.

The OER presentation for the MCLS will now take place at the December meeting in Tallahassee. Jeff Gallant, program director for Affordable Learning Georgia, has been able to adjust his schedule to be our keynote speaker. Affordable Learning Georgia is a textbook affordability and OER initiative managed by GALILEO, and serves as a model of how libraries can have a direct and dramatic impact on student success in this area.

On this same theme, we have recently established a new MCLS Standing Committee for Textbook Affordability and OER (TAOSC). This committee will work to further strengthen the participation and impact from our member libraries in this area. We have also established a new MCLS Standing Committee for Library Assessment (LASC), and, of course, part of their work will be to assess the effectiveness of our efforts in textbook affordability and OER, along with all other aspects of our library resources and services.

October will also be a month of high activity for the integrated library system project. During October, FALSC and FLVC staff will be working with the ILS Working Groups to perform functionality and performance testing on Sierra/Encore. Ellen Bishop and Dave Whisenant have provided detailed information on the testing process, and I hope that everyone at our member libraries will take an opportunity to participate.

I'm also pleased to announce that Jay Wiese is joining FALSC as a new Library Services Analyst, specializing in the area of acquisitions and serials in Sierra. Jay will also join the Acquisitions and Serials Working Group as the FALSC liaison. Jay brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this role, and I know he will be a valuable addition to our team.

In Season of Mists, Neil Gaiman writes, “October knew, of course, that the action of turning a page, of ending a chapter or shutting a book, did not end the tale. Having admitted that, he would also avow that happy endings were never difficult to find: 'It is simply a matter,' he explained to April, 'of finding a sunny place in a garden, where the light is golden and the grass is soft; somewhere to rest, to stop reading, and to be content.' " October is often among the busiest months of the academic year. I hope that each of you has time this month to find that sunny place with golden light and soft grass to rest and be content (and perhaps to read, too!).

– ELIJAH SCOTT, Executive Director, Florida Academic Library Services Cooperative


Governance and Advisory Processes

MCLS Executive Committee – Sept. 20

The Executive Committee of the Members Council on Library Services met by conference call on Sept. 20, with new MCLS Chair Kathleen Miller, Dean of the Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) Library, presiding. Picking up after Hurricane Irma and the institutional closures and event cancellations the storm forced throughout the state, the committee:

  • Reviewed upcoming MCLS meeting dates and agreed to reschedule September’s cancelled meeting as a virtual session. MCLS members were to be polled to determine a date.
  • Discussed service terms for members of two new groups, the Textbook Affordability and OER Standing Committee and the Library Assessment Standing Committee.
  • Agreed to call for applications to fill a Florida College System (FCS) vacancy on the Collection Management and E-Resources Standing Committee (CMESC). The term would begin immediately and run through Dec. 31, 2019.
  • Heard updates on progress toward a uniform Reciprocal Borrowing Agreement, the Sierra/Encore Duet implementation, and FALSC hiring.

The Executive Committee meets next on Oct. 18. 

 Find agendas and minutes for past Executive Committee and MCLS meetings here.


Virtual MCLS Meeting – Nov. 1

The Members Council on Library Services has scheduled a short, virtual meeting to replace the two-day September event cancelled in advance of Hurricane Irma. The council will meet 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Nov. 1. Information for connecting to the virtual session will be sent to council members as soon as it is available.


Appointees Named to Two New Standing Committees

Inaugural members have been announced for the two new MCLS Standing Committees, and both groups are to begin meeting this fall. The Library Assessment Standing Committee (LASC) will get going with 11 regular members, plus an MCLS representative and a FALSC liaison. The Textbook Affordability and OER Standing Committee (TAOSC) is starting out with 15 regular members, plus MCLS and FALSC reps. Seefull membership lists here.

Listservs have been created for both committees:

  • FLVC-LIBRARY-ASSESSMENT-SC@listserv.flvc.org
  • FLVC-TEXTBOOK-OER-SC@listserv.flvc.org

Both also are included in the Listserv archives:

  • Library Assessment Standing Committee
  • Textbook Affordability and OER Standing Committee


Sierra/Encore Duet Implementation

A NOTE ON WIKI ACCESS: Many items in this section refer readers to wikis for more information. Since there is proprietary information on the wikis, a generic password is required to view content. Access is available to staff at Florida’s public higher-education institutions. Please contact your local ILS Coordinator or the Help Desk, help@flvc.org or (877) 506-2210 (toll free), to request login information.


Project Status and Next Steps

Library and technology staff from the Florida Academic Library Services Cooperative (FALSC), Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC), system vendor Innovative Interfaces Inc., and the colleges and universities are moving ahead with development and testing for the implementation of the new integrated library system (ILS), which is scheduled to Go Live in July 2018.

The project enters a crucial phase this month with the beginning of Pre-Production Verification. FALSC, FLVC, the Working Groups, and any library staff who choose to participate will conduct a formal, time-intensive program of functionality, integrations, and performance testing on the new ILS, Sierra/Encore Duet. In December, following Pre-Production Verification, the project will undergo Executive Review.

A detailed Sierra/Encore Duet Preproduction Verification Test Plan has been distributed to project participants. FALSC and FLVC staff kicked off the verification process at the start of October. The Working Groups will test Oct. 9 through Oct. 20.

Work will be conducted on the Production server with newly reloaded data. The reload to that server of millions of records from the colleges and universities was completed Sept. 30.

All of our project servers have been upgraded to the newest versions of Innovative’s software, with Sierra 3.3 now on Test, Training, and Production. The two servers that run the discovery tool, Test and Production, have been loaded with Encore Duet 4.6.3.

Other recent activity includes:

  • Ongoing creation of staff user accounts by FALSC, pending the return of user-information spreadsheets from the institutions
  • Patron data migration and ongoing patron loads meetings with Innovative
  • Continued discussions with Innovative on OAI-PMH Harvesting
  • Commitment from Innovative to develop option for institutions to turn local paging on or off
  • Final corrections and customization for Encore mobile suites, underway now
  • Development of “OAK: Online Access to Knowledge” banners for statewide interface pages

For more details on current project status, please see the late September/October edition of the "Sierra/Encore Duet Implementation Update" newsletter or visit the project wiki.


Opportunities for Participation

Help with October Testing: All library staff who have been trained on the new system are invited to participate in October testing, beginning after Oct. 9. To help, please join the Discussion Group in your area of interest. The Working Groups will provide testing information to the Discussion Groups, and Working Group documents will provide hotlinks to feedback reporting forms, so testers can record their results.

Start customizing: Library Staff who have been trained on Sierra can access the Production server after Oct. 9 to review and test local loan policies, review records, and customize templates and other functions in the new system.

Brush up on the new system: There is no active in-person training at the moment, and won’t be until refresher classes start in Spring 2018. However, that doesn’t mean training isn’t available. Library staffers can review a wealth of materials on the Training Tracks wiki. Please note that wiki is currently being streamlined and revised, but documentation and recordings still can be accessed from the page. 



Testers on the new system this month will see our new branding, OAK: Online Access to Knowledge, on some statewide interface pages for the discovery tool. For colleges and universities wishing to work with the logo on their own materials, OAK logo files and an OAK Brand Toolkit will be posted online for download by the end of October. Library staff will be notified as soon as the files are available. 


Staying Informed

There are many paths for finding more information about the ILS project:

  • The Sierra/Encore Duet Implementation Wiki, which includes links to training recordings and to wikis for the Working Groups, Implementation Team, ILS Coordinators, and ILS IT Contacts
  • The monthly "Sierra/Encore Duet Implementation Update" newsletter, which is sent via Listservs to all library staff and posted on this website
  • This website's ILS Implementation section, including Information Technology pages intended to help library staff communicate with institutions’ IT departments. 


Other Library Projects


FALSC has received pricing for our 2018 statewide collection of resources from most of our vendors, and given the recommendations of the Collections Management and E-Resources Standing Committee, we expect to come in under budget. We have also learned this year that any “leftover” funds from the statewide allocation will roll over into next year’s budget for statewide e-resources. For 2018, our budget was enhanced by a statewide rollover of around $25k. We will ask the MCLS to sign off on the 2018 collection at the online MCLS meeting on Nov. 1.

The FALSC group licensing process is underway, with 38 of the 40 institutions requesting pricing through our annual survey. FALSC staff has been working with vendors to gather pricing information, requesting consortial and group-participation discounting. We hope to have pricing out the week of Oct. 16. Because of the delay caused by Hurricane Irma, we will continue to work on expediting the service to ensure that invoices go out on time this year.

FALSC staff continues to work on renewal license agreements with Cambridge, Oxford, and SAGE on behalf of the participating institutions.


Centralized Data Loads, Extracts, and Reports

SUS Aleph record counts for September are complete. ­­­­August monthly FCS reports have been released.

Ad hoc reports for various institutions were prepared on:

  • Assisted staff member trying to run Aleph acq-31 report
  • Number of requests by campus
  • Question regarding possible discrepancy in loan count reports
  • E-book report
  • List of titles in two specific collections and in Flare
  • Count of special material loans
  • Report for weeding a specific collection
  • TKR report
  • Duplicate call numbers between two collections
  • Work with CAWG sub-group on items with internal notes on Suppressed HOL
  • Loan reports for specific collections
  • ARL title count for one institution

Recent data loading projects include:

  • Periodic loads: Overdrive Direct
  • Periodic subscription loads: EBSCO, LLMC Law,
  • PDA Updates: Rittenhouse, CRC Net, Harrassowitz, Ebook Central, YBP, JSTOR, EBSCO, Coutts, Cambridge, Wiley
  • Completed data migrations MyiLibrary to Ebook Central : CCC, ECC, TCC  
  • Serials Solutions e-books for September.
  • Serial Solutions e-journals for September for FAMU and FIU
  • Transitioning FGCU, UF and FSU from Serial Solutions to EBSCO for e-journals; still not complete but very active
  • MARCit! load for September for USF
  • Genload profiles were created for FSU print and AV for records from a department library system now being integrated into Aleph
  • SUS GPO e-books for September.
  • LC authority loads through 1734 complete

In other work:

  • The following EZProxy database definitions were added/updated:
    • NoodleTools for Palm Beach State College
    • BrowZine for Florida SouthWestern State College
    • Magna Publications Academic Leader for Tallahassee Community College
    • Project Muse for Valencia College, Northwest Florida State College
    • Gale Infotrac, HeinOnline and EBSCOHost for all Colleges
    • Bates Visual Guide for Pasco-Hernando State College
    • Trials for APA Style CENTRAL, NBC Learn and Mango Languages for all Colleges
    • eBookCentral for Florida Poly
  • Updated the FCS AcqOrders file retrieval script to retrieve particular Marc files for loading.
  • ILS implementation:
    • Broad Scat tables complete
    • Cataloging/Authority working group Workflow functionality document completed
    • LAPS processes set up in Sierra Prod for LAPS testing in October; updating e-resource conversion tables; procedures for testing established.
    • Created and tested load profiles for batch order and outsource record loading.


Digital Services


  • A display of altmetrics was added to the PDF content model. This uses the altmetric.com API. Almetrics will display if the PDF has a DOI encoded in MODS as an identifier type="doi", and almetric.com includes at least some usage information. Libraries do not need to do anything to request this feature. It is activated on all sites. To use it, libraries should enter the DOIs in metadata. Instructions are posted on the FIG wiki along with information on statistics. Bryan Brown of FSU libraries assisted with coding the altmetrics display in the PDF content model.

Florida OJ:

  • A demonstration site has been prepared for Open Journal Systems (OJS) version 3. In October, FALSC plans to issue accounts to librarians working with Florida OJ so that they and journal staff can explore the new user interface, which is dramatically different from the OJS version 2 software currently used by Florida OJ. Released in Fall 2016, OJS version 3 does not yet support embargos, which means it does not yet meet the needs of Florida OJ users. FALSC is monitoring the open source community, and when an OJS 3 release brings in the required embargo functionality, FALSC will plan an upgrade.
  • FALSC met with editorial staff from “Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society” regarding finalizing migration, adding additional metadata fields, and working toward indexing the journal's Florida OJ content into the CABI Full Text database.

Florida Digital Archive:

  • The storage disk refresh project has been completed, and a project to add a Cloud storage repository to DAITSS has begun.


Website Changes for Accessibility

Expect some changes in appearance and navigation on Florida Virtual Campus websites this fall as we make adjustments to meet upgraded federal accessibility standards that go into effect in 2018. FALSC, FloridaShines, Complete Florida, and other FLVC sites are undergoing review and re-coding to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA. The goal of these changes is to enable access to our websites by the largest possible group of users, including those who may have various physical and/or other challenges.


We Want Your News!

We like to share news about the libraries and library staff of Florida’s public colleges and universities. To that end, please email us items! We would appreciate information on hires, promotions, presentations, publications, awards, notable library initiatives and events, renovations and building projects, and other items of interest that you would like to send in.

Send in news


Staff Update

Jay Wiese joined FALSC’s Gainesville office on Oct. 9 as a Library Services Analyst. Jay comes to us from the University of Florida Smathers Libraries Acquisitions and Collections Services Department. He has more than 16 years of experience in academic libraries, including 13 years in acquisitions and serials, and will join the Acquisitions/Serials Working Group as a FALSC liaison. Jay is an all-around great fit for FALSC and our member libraries: He has worked extensively with Aleph and EBSCO Discovery Service, and has participated in training on Sierra/Encore Duet. Welcome, Jay!

FALSC and the Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC) are looking for a new Help Desk Analyst to work in our Tallahassee office. Applications were accepted through Oct. 5, and the hiring process is underway.

FALSC also is in the process of hiring for three leadership positions, and we hope to have one or two new directors in place by December. The preferred application deadline for the jobs was Sept. 15. Resumes are currently under review, with initial interviews to be scheduled as soon as possible. As a reminder, the three positions are:

  • Director of Library Support and Training
  • Director of Digital Services and Open Educational Resources (OER)
  • Director of E-Resources


Upcoming Events

The Members Council on Library Services plans a virtual meeting on Nov. 1, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., and will meet Dec. 7-8 at FLVC headquarters, Tallahassee. Registration links and agendas will be shared with members as soon as they are finalized.


See Previous Updates