EDITOR'S NOTE:  Two events cited here were postponed in advance of Hurricane Irma. The Members Council on Library Services Quarterly Meeting set for September has been rescheduled for Nov. 1 as a virtual meeting. The Florida OER Summit, also originally planned for September, is to be rescheduled.


Elijah Scott

Another summer break has gone by all too quickly, and we’re now at the beginning of a new fall semester. I hope that all of you had a chance to get some much needed – and much deserved – time away for rest and relaxation. Here at FALSC, we’ve spent the summer working on a variety of projects that will hopefully help make your fall semester a success.

In thinking of fall semesters, I remember the fall semester of 1990, when I paid $65 for a new copy of the textbook for a World Civilizations I course. I was pretty happy to learn that the textbook would also be used for World Civilizations II in the next semester, which meant that I could stretch my meager funds a little further. I also remember that the book was huge, that I enjoyed reading it, and that by then end of World Civ II, we had read the entire book.

A great deal has changed since 1990 in the world of college textbooks.

In August 2015, NBC News reported that the cost of college textbooks had risen 1,041 percent since 1977. In a 2014 report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, researchers found that 65 percent of college students chose not to purchase at least one required textbook because of the high cost. Of those students, 94 percent also acknowledged that not purchasing the textbook would likely have a negative impact on their grade for the course. Nearly half of all college students have chosen either not to take a specific course or to limit the number of courses taken in a semester because of the high cost of college textbooks.

Those of us who work in academic libraries often associate textbooks more with the college bookstore than with the library. On some campuses, the library might have some copies of textbooks on reserve, but we generally don’t think of college textbooks as within the purview of the library. However, it’s time for us to rethink the library’s role in supporting student success through low-cost or no-cost textbooks and supporting materials.

The conversation about the high cost of commercial textbooks and ancillary materials, and the resulting impact of that cost on student success and completion rates, has been growing louder over the past several years. Textbook affordability and the use of open educational resources (OER) will be high priorities for colleges and universities over the next several years, and I believe that our academic libraries are uniquely situated to take a leadership role in this area.

Over the next few months, you can expect to see additional support from FALSC in the area of textbook affordability and OER. In September, several FALSC staff will be attending the first-ever Florida OER Summit, at which attendees will learn more about the many ways to support student success through textbook affordability initiatives. At the September meeting of the Members Council on Library Services, our keynote speaker will be Jeff Gallant, program manager for Affordable Learning Georgia. Affordable Learning Georgia is an initiative of the University System of Georgia that is managed by GALILEO, Georgia’s library consortium. Over the past four years, ALG has had an amazing impact on student success in Georgia, and the college and university libraries in the USG have been central to this success.

Academic libraries face many challenges, not the least of which is the pressure to constantly reinvent ourselves and reinvigorate the services that we offer to our students. By taking a leadership role in the area of textbook affordability and support for OER, we have an opportunity to reshape the perceptions of our libraries and to put a spotlight on yet another way that our libraries are essential to student success at each of our institutions. It is my goal for FALSC to play a key role in that process by providing resources, services, and training to enhance this work at all of our member libraries.

Here's to another successful fall semester!

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


Governance and Advisory Processes

MCLS Executive Committee – Aug. 16

The Executive Committee of the Members Council on Library Services met by conference call on Aug. 16 with new MCLS Chair Kathleen Miller, Dean of the Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) Library, presiding. The committee:

  • Agreed to adopt a “consent agenda” format for MCLS meetings, which is expected to speed up the approval process for items that do not require discussion.
  • Heard an update on standing committee applications, 26 of which had been received for two new and two existing committees by Aug. 16, two days ahead of the Aug. 18 application deadline.
  • Reviewed and approved a request to expand the charge of the Collection Management and E-Resources Standing Committee (CMESC) to include the responsibility to “periodically review guidelines and processes relating to e-resources procurement.”
  • Heard updates on the Sierra/Encore Duet Implementation, efforts toward formulating a legislative budget request (LBR) centered on textbook affordability and open educational resources, and FALSC’s hiring efforts.
  • Discussed future meeting topics and dates.

The Executive Committee meets next on Sept. 20. 

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


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, and the colleges and universities are moving ahead on development and testing for the implementation, which is scheduled for Go Live in July 2018.

The reloading of millions of records onto our Sierra Production server will wrap up Sept. 30, opening the way for extensive system testing with fresh data in October. This will be the final, crucial stretch for testing before the new ILS undergoes an executive review and approval process in December. FALSC, FLVC, and the Working Groups will kick into high gear for testing with the newly loaded data, and library staff are invited to pitch in, test-driving their own data and processes on the Production server during October.

A detailed October Testing Plan, with a checklist and workflow structure test scripts, will be emailed in mid-September to members of the ILS Working Groups and to participating FALSC and FLVC staff. The formal testing program is expected to require a substantial time investment over several weeks, and we thank Working Group members for their commitment to the process.

At this time, the Production server is unavailable for data manipulation and workflow testing through Sept. 30 as data is reloaded. Data manipulation and workflow testing continue on the Test and Training servers. We are using version 3.2 of the Sierra software and version 4.6.2 of the discovery tool, Encore Duet. A new version of the Sierra software, 3.3 Beta, will be installed on Test on Aug. 30. Check server status at any time on the project wiki.

Other recent work on the project includes:

  • Ongoing creation of staff user accounts by FALSC, pending the return of user-information spreadsheets from the institutions
  • Continued discussions with Innovative and the libraries for Authentication setup
  • Patron data migration and ongoing patron loads meetings with Innovative
  • Continued discussions with Innovative on necessary requirements for OAI-PMH Harvesting

Overall, system provider Innovative Interfaces is making good progress on our list of identified issues, and a majority have been resolved. Development work is ongoing.

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


Opportunities for Participation

Put that training to work now: Library staff who have been through in-person training can review data and practice workflows on Sierra Test.

Pitch in for October Testing: After Sept. 30, staff who have been trained on Sierra can access the Production server to review, test, and customize local loan policies, review records, and customize templates and other functions in the new system. To learn what others are finding and report what you see, please join one of the eight ILS Discussion Groups focused on various areas of the new system. A dedicated mechanism for reporting issues may be established later this fall.

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.


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

Open Educational Resources

Making higher education more affordable through the use of open textbooks and open educational resources is one of FLVC and FALSC’s legislatively mandated goals, and we’re happy to report that our state’s OER efforts are picking up steam.

Following on FALSC Executive Director Elijah Scott’s essay above, here’s a summary of some OER-related events and developments of interest to our library community.

Florida OER Summit: On Sept. 7-8, we look forward to seeing university and college staff from across the state at the first-ever Florida OER Summit, in Daytona Beach. The event will feature Dr. Cable Green, Director of Open Education at Creative Commons, and other national and campus leaders involved in driving and defining OER strategy and initiatives. There’s even a presentation focused on our favorite institution: “The Library Role in Supporting OER.” To learn more or register for the summit, go to https://www.flvc.org/oersummit.

MCLS keynote speaker: On Sept. 13, Jeff Gallant, Program Manager of Affordable Learning Georgia, will be the keynote speaker for the Members Council on Library Services meeting at New College of Florida, Sarasota. Jeff will talk to the group about open educational resources and Affordable Learning Georgia, a University System of Georgia (USG) initiative focused on promoting student success by providing affordable textbook alternatives. Affordable Learning Georgia acts as a “one-stop service to help USG faculty and staff identify lower-cost, electronic, free, and open educational resources (OER), building on the cost-effective subscription resources provided by GALILEO and the USG libraries,” its website explains, and is a California State University-MERLOT partner benefit service.

New standing committee: The MCLS is currently establishing a Textbook Affordability and OER Standing Committee (TAOSC), with committee members to be announced soon. The TAOSC will:

  • Assist and advise the MCLS regarding creation, development, adoption, and use of affordable textbooks and OER in Florida’s public colleges and universities.
  • Collaborate with the Digital Initiatives Standing Committee (DISC) and Collection Management and E-resources Standing Committee (CMESC) to use existing digital platforms, initiatives, and e-resources collections in support of textbook affordability and OER.
  • Identify and share current trends and best practices in textbook affordability and OER, with an emphasis on the role of the academic library.
  • Provide recommendations to the MCSL for resources and activities to support textbook affordability and OER initiatives in all FLVC libraries.
  • Provide regular reports to the MCLS.

Focused leadership: At FALSC, we plan on hiring a Director of Digital Services and Open Educational Resources this fall. Applications and nominations are being accepted now, with preference given to those received by Sept. 15. To learn more, please see the job Profile.



For our 2018 statewide collection of e-resources, FALSC staff have been requesting pricing from vendors for our renewals. As usual, we are requesting that vendors hold our renewal pricing flat for 2018, in light of our unchanged statewide allocation. We hope to have a complete picture of the budget and pricing in time for the Members Council meeting in September, in order to finalize the collection for 2018.

FALSC’s annual Group Licensing Process is gearing up for 2018. In this process, FALSC will act as agent on behalf of institutions wishing to join a shared license, using local funds, in order to take advantage of group participation discounts and single invoicing. A webinar for liaisons was held Aug. 23 and 24, in order to provide an understanding of the process, the timeline, and the responsibilities and expectations of FALSC and the participating institutions. A survey of interest will be distributed Sept. 1. We look forward to another successful collaborative licensing effort this year.

FALSC licensing staff are pursuing license agreements with Cambridge, Oxford, and SAGE, all of which are up for renewal in 2018. We will be working with participating institutions throughout the rest of the summer and fall on title lists, cost and terms.

Staff from several institutions delivered a Talking Tech on Aug. 29, on Making Sense of E-Resources Usage Statistics. Athena Hoeppner (UCF), Pamela Herring (UCF Health Sciences Library), Shelly Schmucker (Tallahassee Community College) and Scott Schmucker (FALSC) presented on the challenges of gathering accurate usage statistics and using this data to support collection decisions. The session was well attended and generated much useful discussion. A recording is available on our FLVCLearn site.


Centralized Data Loads, Extracts, and Reports

SUS Aleph record counts for August are complete.

July monthly FCS reports have been released.

Ad hoc reports for various institutions were prepared on:

  • List of print materials published before 1923
  • Holdings records with no items for several institutions
  • Deleted “ghost” item records for several institutions
  • Report of items with no loans in specific call number ranges
  • Updated Arrow reports with drop down for fiscal year (to include FY 2018)
  • Report of items that are tagged as Dewey call numbers that aren’t
  • Report of number of loans for past 3 years for 9 campuses and 51 call number ranges
  • Report of circulation for DVD material types with specific item statuses
  • Report of unique titles to 3 specific collections compared to the rest of the institution
  • Report of titles in a specific collection AND in FLARE
  • Report of HOL with active items for several institutions
  • Report of HOL with all items “withdrawn”
  • Report of items in a sublibrary with a specific note; then deleted that note (which we had added for all the items in that location in October 2009)
  • Report of titles returned not on loan for last FY
  • Report of items returned for last FY
  • List of ISBN for all records at an institution
  • Report of textbooks on reserve and the associated course
  • Report of number of intra-campus loans for the past 3 years

In addition, FALSC wrote a new shell script to automate running an SQL report of no circulation for three years. This report needed to run 51 times (call number range) and for each of MDC’s nine campuses, which is a total of 459 reports.

Recent data loading and extracting projects include:

  • Periodic loads:
    • August loads: SUS GPO and Serials Solutions e books
    • MARCit! load for August for USF
    • Serial Solutions for August for FIU and FAMU
    • Transitioning FGCU, UF & FSU from Serial Solutions to EBSCO for ejournals  -- not complete
    • LC authority loads complete through 1732
  • Periodic subscription loads:
    • PDA Updates: Safari, Rittenhouse
    • New PDA plans for UCF Cambridge  -- not complete
    • Genload profiles were created for USF Alexander Street performance videos, USF Alexander Street Scores and FGCU McGraw-Hill: the FA Davis PT Collection
  • RapidILL eJournal updates for August done for FAMU, FAU, FGCU, New College, UCF, UF and USF
  • FSU extract of BIB, Item, and limited Circ data for OCLC’s Sustainable Collection Services – for Eastern Academic Scholars’ Trust participation
  • Genload profiles for FAU Digitalia Hispanica

In other work:

  • SUS Coutts PDA Wrap-up: Coutts provided a final list of purchased titles for the shared SUS PDA plan that ended in January, but did not provide bib records for all purchased titles. FALSC identified 428 missing bibs. ProQuest, which has purchased Coutts, provided the missing records. As of Aug. 15, records for all 1804 titles purchased on the plan have been loaded into UXU01, and the remaining discovery records have been deleted from PDA01. This wraps up the shared SUS PDA plan with Coutts.
  • Modified LAPS code to email all colleges when loading Statewide FMG files.
  • Added Sage trial database stanza for FCS statewide.
  • Updated Sage Publications database stanza for FCS statewide.
  • Working with UF to add three new UBorrow pickup locations for Sept. 1 launch. – in      


Digital Services


  • Progress continues on the Florida Islandora Institutional Repository Transformation (FLIIRT) project. FLIIRT builds on Islandora and includes extra tools for better presenting and representing faculty and student research. For institutions new to Islandora, basic tools for uploading PDFs and sharing out metadata are already available today on all sites. In August 2017, some features related to FLIIRT development were enabled on FSU and FAU's production sites, and full functionality was enabled on Broward College's test site.
  • New statistics are available through Islandora. Download and view counts were incorporated into the display of PDFs in all Islandora sites. For site administrators, a limited dashboard of view counts for all items in a collection is available for each collection from the collection's "Manage" tab. Development is available for viewing on the test sites to show download and view counts for various formats of content. FALSC is collecting feedback on these statistics displays, and libraries are encouraged to share feedback on the ISG listserv, http://listserv.flvc.org/scripts/wa.exe?A0=FLVC-FL-ISLANDORA .
  • FLVC has begun development related to how deletions work on Islandora sites. Currently, once an item is deleted on an Islandora site, the item is completely gone. New development will keep deleted items in a holding area for a set amount of time. Ultimately, the goal is to allow Islandora sites to provide information about tombstones via OAI-PMH feeds, which will allow better integration with the coming discovery tool, Encore, and to allow roll backs in case of accidental deletions. At this time, tombstones and roll backs of deletions are not supported on Islandora sites.

Florida OJ:

  • In July 2017, OAI-PMH was disabled on Florida OJ because of an inefficient query related to the OAI-PMH repository functionality in the software. A code fix has been tested on the Florida OJ development server, and is ready to move through to the test and production servers. It is anticipated that OAI-PMH functionality will be available again on the site in September 2017.

Florida Digital Archive:

  • The storage disk refresh project is nearing completion. This involves copying all disk archival masters to new storage hardware and includes as set of checks to ensure that all migrated copies are correct and complete.

Professional development:

  • FALSC E-Resources Coordinator Amanda Yesilbas has successfully completed all requirements for a Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) Certificate from the Society of American Archivists (SAA).


We Want Your News!

We’d like to make FALSC.org a prime source for news on the libraries and library staff of Florida’s public colleges and universities. To that end, please email us your items! No need to write a whole article – short news tips are fine. 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 share.

Send in news


Staff Update

We are sad to report that Help Desk Analyst Christine Freeland is leaving FLVC after three and a half years. Christine plans to return to the Virgin Islands to be closer to family, and will pursue other interests. Her last day on the Help Desk is Sept. 15.

We will be hiring for Christine’s position this fall. FALSC is now in the process of hiring a Library Services Analyst in the Gainesville office, and we hope to have a person in place soon.

Three FALSC leadership positions also are open. If you’d like to apply or make a nomination, please do! The preferred date for applications and nominations for the three jobs has been extended from Sept. 1 to Sept. 15. For more information, visit the website of search firm Myers McRae:

  • 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 will meet Sept. 13-14 at New College of Florida, Sarasota, and Dec. 7-8 at FLVC headquarters, Tallahassee.


See Previous Updates