FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
FOREWORD BY ELIJAH SCOTT
As I compose this note, I have been working in the role of Executive Director of the Florida Academic Library Services Cooperative (FALSC) for six weeks, one day, six hours,
and . . . well, but who’s counting? Needless to say, the past six weeks have been a whirlwind of activity for me and for my family! I suspect we may have set some sort of record time for selling a house, buying a house, moving to a new state, and getting all settled in. It’s been an exciting opportunity to enjoy living in a new state while making new friends and meeting new colleagues.
Much of my time for the first few weeks has been spent learning more about our organization and the member libraries that we serve. On Nov. 7, we held a retreat for FALSC staff at Florida Gateway College in Lake City. We are very appreciative of Library Director Christine Boatright and her staff for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to us during our day-long retreat. Many of you understand the challenge of having staff spread across multiple geographic locations, so you also understand the importance of good communication and regular opportunities to have everyone in the same location at the same time. For FALSC staff, it is essential that we have regular opportunities for everyone to be together to talk, brainstorm, share challenges, and discuss solutions, as well as to maintain a sense of camaraderie and teamwork. As a new member of the organization, this was my first chance to talk with the entire group together, and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about everyone. We did discover some surprises about each other during the day, such as the fact that Director of Library Support and Training Linda McCarthy once rappelled down a building at Santa Fe College.
Over the coming months, I plan to arrange visits with all of the deans and directors at our member libraries. I have already managed a few of these visits, which have been incredibly informative for me. FALSC serves a very diverse group of libraries, so it is essential that I have a full understanding of the needs at each institution. I have been doing a great deal of traveling, with much more to come, and every trip is worthwhile. Say, does anyone know what the weather might be like in Key West in late January?
All joking aside, I can say that the weather in both Tallahassee and Gainesville has been perfect for the past few weeks, which has made it somewhat challenging to spend so much time in training for our next-generation integrated library system (ILS). I have joined our FALSC staff in many hours of training for cataloging, acquisitions, circulation, electronic resources management, and other functional areas of the ILS. We are fortunate to have Schlomit Schwarzer as our trainer from Innovative, as she is both knowledgeable and engaging. In all of these training sessions, FALSC staff have asked numerous questions to ensure that the ILS will best meet the needs of our member libraries. Schlomit has done superb work in answering our questions and following up later with additional information. The ILS migration is, as you know, a deeply complex project. Thanksgiving is only a couple of days away, and my experience in these training sessions over the past few weeks has reminded me to be thankful for the depth and breadth of knowledge and experience among our staff at FALSC. We are in the midst of a challenging project that is happening on a short timeline, but the dedication and hard work of FALSC staff, the library faculty and staff serving on the implementation groups, along with the professional support that we are receiving from Innovative, will all combine to ensure the success of the project.
Much of the work that takes place at an organization such as FALSC happens out of view of our customers, but we count on all of you to let us know where changes and improvements are needed for resources and services. While the ILS migration is at the forefront of activity right now, we still need to keep an eye toward the future of library resources and services for the colleges and universities that we serve. Please let me know what thoughts and ideas you may have to help shape the future of academic libraries in our state!
– ELIJAH SCOTT, Executive Director, Florida Academic Library Services Cooperative
Governance and Advisory Processes
Quarterly MCLS Meeting, Nov. 30
The Members Council on Library Services (MCLS) met Nov. 30 at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando. Despite a few technical difficulties, members covered a wide range of topics during the single-day session.
Executive Director Elijah Scott made his first appearance before the full council. He spoke briefly about his ongoing push to get acquainted with each of the college and university libraries, and about the opportunities ahead for FALSC to grow services. “I’m excited to see us moving forward,” he said.
Dr. Pamela Northrup, CEO of the Innovation Institute and Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC), also attended. She is looking ahead to the 2018 Legislative Session, and said that she will provide a draft timeline for Session-related action to the MCLS before its next meeting, on Feb. 14 in Ocala.
At the Nov. 30 meeting, the MCLS heard updates on:
- The Sierra/Encore Duet implementation: Project co-leads Ellen Bishop and Dave Whisenant and the ILS Working Groups reported on our progress and next steps. For more, see the implementation section below.
- FALSC Digital Services: Work on a FALSC Digital Framework, as discussed at the September MCLS meeting, is on hold until 2017.
- Next-generation ILS branding: A marketing company has been hired for the project, and FALSC and the MCLS Executive Committee hope to have a catchy name for the new system by the time “Spring Training” starts in February. If you have ideas on what to name the new ILS, please email the Help Desk – we’re happy to get suggestions.
- The FALSC Standing Committees: Representatives reported on the current work of the five committees, with the Resource Sharing Standing Committee proposing a confidentiality statement for the new shared patron database in Sierra/Encore Duet. The MCLS asked the Resource Sharing Standing Committee to flesh out the document to include general practices, data security, and a reference to Florida Statutes covering library record confidentiality, and to bring it back to the full council. For the reports from the committees, see the MCLS Agenda packet for the Nov. 30 meeting on FALSC.org.
The E-Resources Framework Working Group: Lori Driscoll presented the group’s FALSC E-Resource Framework Communications Plan and discussed members’ recommendation to seek changes in the language of F.S. 1006.73 (2015), part 2, section a, paragraph 4, clause b, which describes how the legislative allocation will be spent for e-resources. For the Communications Plan and specifics on the recommendation, see the MCLS Agenda packet for the Nov. 30 meeting.
Among other items, the MCLS took action on:
- E-resource licensing for 2017, voting to pursue a three-year license for the Springer e-journal collection and two years of access to Oxford Art Online in a one-time spend of FCS allocated funds.
- The Decision Making and Authority Working Group, affirming a motion by Karen Griffin to sunset the group and concentrate on updating existing bylaws.
The council also spoke briefly with Victoria Brown of Florida Atlantic University, who was seeking information on access to library resources for distance learning students.
MCLS Executive Committee, Nov. 16
The Executive Committee of the MCLS met by conference call on Nov. 16. Members heard from Executive Director Elijah Scott, got an update on the ILS implementation project, discussed the Nov. 30 MCLS meeting, and named four members to the Collection Management and E-Resources Standing Committee (CMESC). Members also decided to forgo a meeting of the full Executive Committee in December, but may meet to discuss next-generation ILS branding.
Starting Jan. 1, four newly appointed or re-appointed members will begin three-year terms on the Collection Management and E-Resources Standing Committee. These members were named Nov. 16 after applications were sought and reviewed by the MCLS Executive Committee:
- Valerie Boulos, Florida International University
- Tara Tobin Cataldo, University of Florida
- Audrey Powers, University of South Florida
- Shelly Schmucker, Tallahassee Community College
Valerie and Shelly are returning to the Standing Committee for new terms, and we thank them for their continued service.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org or (877) 506-2210 (toll free), to request login information.
Dating from the contract signing in April, this 15-month project is reaching the halfway mark on its road to completion. The Sierra/Encore Duet implementation remains on track for “Go Live” in July 2017.
See “Staying Informed,” below, for links to in-depth information on the project and key groups, including the Implementation Team, the nine Working Groups, institutional IT contacts, and the ILS Coordinators responsible for putting together local implementation teams at their institutions.
Here’s a quick update on where the next-generation ILS project stands now.
Work overview: FALSC and FLVC IT staff and the Working Groups are tackling Sierra and Encore system configuration, authentication, development issues, EBSCO profiles, electronic resource management (ERM), acquisitions migration, a Curriculum Builder pilot, patron loads, duplicate patron IDs, joint use, and application program interfaces (APIs). FALSC staff and the Working Groups also have been undergoing functionality training sessions on the new system for several weeks.
Server status: We are currently using our primary server for training and data review. The data on the secondary server was erased on October 31 and is being reloaded. That server is expected to be available again soon. A third server environment will be built in February.
Data loading: Innovative Interfaces recently loaded ERM sample data, and is loading sample acquisitions records, one or two libraries at a time. Course reserves will follow. New files of all record types – bib records, holdings, items, authority records, patrons, cash transactions, checkouts, holds, orders, vendors, fund records, ERM records, course reserves – have been sent to Innovative for a total data reload that will be released in January, meaning that more current data will be available for review then. The data that is available now dates from April.
Encore Duet: EBSCO is finalizing setup of the discovery tool for all of the institutions. Innovative has sent FALSC links to the individual Encore library interfaces. After FALSC and the Working Groups complete an initial review of the Encore suites, institutions will be able to see their own interfaces.
Curriculum Builder: Aside from Sierra and Encore Duet, our installation is to provide each of the colleges and universities with the opportunity to use Curriculum Builder. Beta testing on the tool will be conducted for four institutions this spring: Florida Gulf Coast University, Tallahassee Community College, St. Petersburg College, and Indian River State College. All other institutions will be configured in early summer.
Information Technology: Meetings with Innovative Interfaces regarding authentication continue weekly. The FALSC and FLVC development team is exploring options for patron authentication and for access to electronic resources. Where available, our goal is for students and faculty to use each institution’s native Single Sign-On/Identity Provider (SSO/IdP) solution. We have received responses from all 40 institutions to the message posted to the IT-Contacts list asking for information on each institution’s current authentication functionality.
Expect the new year to get off to a fast start, with statewide registration for library staff training taking place in January, and in-person “Spring Training” beginning on Feb. 14.
Nearly 150 in-person training sessions have been booked at 30 host sites around the state. Training will continue through mid-June. Each of the 40 ILS Coordinators has been sent their institution’s schedule. See the Training Calendar and Topics spreadsheet on Google for details. Besides the in-person sessions, training will involve eLearning modules, recorded webinars, and documents, some of which will be prerequisites to classroom work, as will be specified in future communications.
The Training Working Group presented a Training Update for all library staff on Nov. 14. This one-hour update included a discussion of our Spring Training plans as well as Sierra documentation and proposed webinars. See the PowerPoint and the Collaborate recording on the Training Working Group Wiki Training page.
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 mid-month 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
As we transition into Sierra/Encore Duet, we are involved in configuring the new systems and supporting current systems and services. As a reminder, here are our plans for changes in support going forward:
- Enhancement and Integration Requests: Freeze now, consider on case by case until April 2017.
- Data Loading and Quality Control: Continue as is until April 2017, then freeze and develop in new system instead.
- Service Requests: Continue until June 2017, then consider on a case-by-case basis after System Acceptance as resources allow.
IPEDS Survey Assistance
The annual Academic Library Survey of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) will open on Dec. 14. FALSC continues to assist the FCS libraries with the completion of this survey. Information from the Library Information Network for Cooperative Content (LINCC) that may be used to complete the survey was emailed to MCLS members, the institutional report coordinators, and the IPEDS keyholders on Nov. 17. Some schools choose to collect the data themselves; some prefer the table we provide. The material we provide is only intended to assist in the completion of the survey!
In order to facilitate communication to all FCS institutions regarding the survey, FALSC has established a new Listserv (the FLVC Academic Libraries Survey Discussion List, FLVC-ALS@listserv.flvc.org). The list will be used to send reminders of dates regarding the survey; information for specific schools will be emailed to those schools directly. All FCS library directors and the Institutional Reports Coordinator have been added to the list; you may opt out of the list by sending a message to email@example.com with the command UNSUBSCRIBE FLVC-ALS in the body.
The survey closes on March 15, per the information sent from Steven Kimble at the Florida Department of Education in early August.
Lost Items Procedures and Best Practices
Per a recommendation from the Resource Sharing Standing Committee that was approved by the MCLS earlier this year, all FALSC libraries will begin billing one another for UBorrow lost items in January. The committee has also put forth the following practices:
- FALSC will run reports in January and July, staring in 2017, of lost UBorrow items that are six months past the due date and institutions will bill twice a year (at a minimum).
- FCS libraries may continue to bill at the point when an item becomes lost.
- Lending libraries will generate bills to invoice borrowing libraries,
- Institutions will reimburse one another according to their individual procedures,
- Libraries may accept replacement copies per biller approval.
- The replacement cost is determined by the lending library.
The 2017 statewide collections of e-resources for the FCS and SUS are being finalized. As a reminder, the SUS will discontinue Oxford’s Grove Music Online, and the FCS will discontinue EBSCO’s Health Source: Nursing/Academic product and Associates Programs Source Plus, while adding ProQuest’s US Newsstream. Also, per the recent discussion at the MCLS meeting, the FCS will pursue a three-year license for the Springer e-journal collection and a two-year license for Oxford Art Online, to use the surplus funds resulting from the cuts listed above.
The CMESC also gave recommendations for the 2018 collection, at the earlier request of the MCLS, so that institutions could plan budgets for the coming years more closely in synch with the funding process.
The FLVC group license process is concluding. We have begun issuing invoices to the participating institutions, and committing to invoices from the vendors. Thanks to everyone for being prompt and accurate with responses to pricing requests and commitment letters. The total spend this year was $1,684,547, a 12.5% increase over last year’s total spend. The process included 38 institutions, 34 vendors, 121 products, and 490 line items.
Centralized Data Loads, Extracts, and Reports
SUS Aleph record counts for November are in progress. We have completed ad hoc reports for FAMU, Course Reserve Titles; USF, Bib Counts by Holdings OWN Code, Bibs With No Linked Items; and FLARE, Fields added to Monthly Serials List Report.
FCS monthly reports through November have been released. Ad hoc reports were prepared for Broward, weekly report of circulation for specific collection; South Florida, exported T030 into Excel; Miami Dade, circulation and item count for eight call-number ranges; Eastern Florida, report of loans for specific reserve collections, report on all reserves at one campus; Jacksonville, patrons with IDs which aren’t employee IDs, records with multiple type 03 IDs; St. Petersburg, course reserves.
Recent data loading projects include:
- E-Book, video and PDA monthly updates: Kanopy, YBP, Cambridge, Rittenhouse, Wiley, EBL, Gale Literary Criticism, FMG, Credo, Ebrary, Harrassowitz
- Institution added vendors: Rittenhouse (PDA), Ebook Central (purchase plan)
- LCA10: Loads complete through 1647
- Serial Solutions: November complete
- GPO loads: November complete
- MARCit! Ejournals: December complete
We continue to consult with SUS libraries to develop and approve GenLoad profiles for library staff to use for ongoing data loads into UXU01. Profiles have been approved for: FIU Gale Crime, Punishment and Popular Culture; FIU Gale Making Modern Law, USF Proquest EBL DDA; and FSU for Business Expert Press - Economic Collection. RapidILL EJournal updates were completed for FGCU, NC, and UF. November Serial Solutions for FAU, FGCU and UF are complete.
FALSC also extracts data from Aleph, on regular schedules, for shipping to outside parties (e.g., institutional financial systems, third-party discovery systems).
Bibliographic Database Quality
As part of the Sierra/Encore Duet implementation, we have contracted with Backstage Library Works (BSLW) to provide de-duplication and authority control services, and BSLW duplication reports are under review. While we continue with work already begun to clean up records in current Aleph catalogs, and of course continue to perform regular reports and automated cleanup, our emphasis is shifting to the Sierra environment.
Meanwhile, we are working to identify non-OCLC SUS record sets with OCLC numbers in the 035 field, and are currently on Phase 2, records with multiple holdings. This is the spreadsheet used to track progress. The number of records cleaned up totals 160,841. Progress is slow because the same FALSC staff members are working on the cleanup and Sierra implementation.
Also in November, we prepared the Annual FCS Purge of Bibliographic Records with No Items Attached.
We have updated or added the following FCS EZproxy database definitions: Sage Publications for Santa Fe; Ovid trials for Palm Beach; Oxford Journals for several colleges; Natural Medicines for Manatee and St. Petersburg; Tugg and Phoenix Bioinformatics for Manatee; R2Library for Palm Beach; Ambrose and APA Style CENTRAL for South Florida College.
FALSC continues to work with colleges on their migration to Yankee Book Peddler. We are waiting for YBP to verify that they are finished with College of Central Florida’s configuration for EDI invoicing. All of the Aleph configuration for EDI and batch loading is finished.
Work continues on making system performance improvements in FL-Islandora. In conjunction with the Islandora Sub-Group (ISG) of DISC, three enhancements to FL-Islandora were selected as the top user priorities: a process for batch update/replacement of MODS metadata, improved performance in rendering of the serial title issue tree, and a limit in the number of characters to display in search results for the Abstract/Description field.
Site visits were made to Valencia College West Campus and to Florida Gateway Community College, and a project was begun to migrate Gulf Coast State College’s digital materials to Islandora.
Florida OJ runs on the open source Open Journal Systems (OJS) software and is currently on version 2.4.8. The open source community released version 3.0 in August. A project is under way to set up a demonstration site with the new software. The site will allow libraries and journals to explore the significantly changed interface and make plans for how to address version 3.0.
The Help Desk got glowing reviews in the Case Satisfaction Survey for External Customers conducted in October, with 98 percent of respondents saying that their overall experience was “excellent,” “very good,” or “good.”
The survey was conducted from Oct. 1 through 31. An algorithm selected one-third of all external customer cases in the Help Desk’s case management system (CRM) and emailed a survey link. The survey asked three questions: overall satisfaction, satisfaction with the speed of the Help Desk's initial response, and friendliness of the Help Desk representative. A free-text comments section was also provided.
Surveys were sent to 215 customers, and 50 responded. Twenty-two made comments.
Regarding speed of initial response, 78 percent reported being “very satisfied,” 16 percent were “satisfied,” and 6 percent were “neutral.”
For the statement “representative was friendly,” 82 percent responded “strongly agree,” 14 percent chose “agree,” and 4 percent were “neutral.”
For overall experience, the breakdown was 84 percent “excellent,” 6 percent “very good,” 8 percent “good,” and 2 percent “poor.”
Comments also were overwhelmingly positive, as examples show:
- “You have the best support organization that I deal with. Congratulations and thank you!”
- “FLVC has a wonderful staff that are always willing to go the extra mile to help”
- “Thank you, thank you! Excellent service all the time.”
The full survey and comments are available upon request from the Help Desk.
Past MCLS Chair Anne Prestamo, Florida International University, read a special appreciation of Claire’s contributions to library services at the Nov. 30 council meeting in Orlando, and it was hugs all around as Claire spoke individually with MCLS members throughout the day. Claire will be presented with a framed copy of the MCLS appreciation at a later date.
FALSC, meanwhile, remains committed to continuity of service in e-resources and digital services going forward.
FLVC's Tammy Elliott, formerly an Administrative Specialist for Business Operations, has been named Events and Logistics Coordinator for the department, effective Dec. 5. Thankfully, Tammy will continue to coordinate and provide support for quarterly MCLS meetings, where her organizational wizardry is always appreciated.
For news on people throughout our library community, see People in the News.
The next meeting of the Members Council on Library Services will be Feb. 14 at the College of Central Florida, Ocala. Following that, the MCLS will meet in June. The exact date and location of that meeting are to be determined.
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