Collaborative Technical Services Team WebEx meeting minutes
November 21, 2013
Present at the meeting were: Beth Burnett, Bill Clayton, Bill Walsh, Cathy Jeffrey, Chris Huff, Donna Bennett, Guy Frost, Hallie Pritchett, Jacquiline Vickers, Miriam Nauenburg, Sherrida Crawford.
Cathy Jeffrey welcomed everyone to the meeting. She opened the meeting by requesting approval of the minutes from the previous meeting. The minutes were approved. Cathy indicated that the minutes would be posted to the Next Gen Blog.
Cathy reported that there had been some activity on the Blog. Jenifer Marquardt had expressed concern that USG does not have the history or experience needed to support a centralized catalog/processing unit. Cathy stated that she had responded briefly to the post and that Bill Clayton had responded in greater detail. Cathy asked Bill if he would like to comment. Bill stated that Jenifer’s comment seemed to imply that the only reason for a shared database was to accommodate shared or centralized processing. He said that his comment was to try to suggest that this was not the reason. He stated that we are not trying to decide whether we should have centralized processing. Instead we are trying to decide what a Next Gen system ought to do for us. Cathy agreed that Jenifer’s comment did seem to join the two. Cathy acknowledged that one would not necessarily have to be joined to the other. Bill stated that it was understandable but not what we want people to think. Hallie stated that she had seen other comments to the effect that a shared database automatically means a shared catalog where everyone is doing the same thing. Hallie stated that this is not true and wondered what the Team could do to clarify this issue. She stated that realistically that most people would never know that there was a shared catalog. Bill agreed and described what others were doing including a shared database with a single catalog or a shared database with a virtual catalog for each institution. Hallie stated that we don’t have anything in place to support shared processing at this time but noted that we would have to start somewhere. She said that she did not believe that it should be ruled out as something that we may or may not want to work towards in the future. Bill agreed. Bill stated that you can have a shared database and no shared processing or you can have some central processing of some tasks and completely separate databases. He stated that what we hope and what people across the country seem to be thinking is that a shared database will offer more flexibility in how we present data to our users and how we do things. So it is the flexibility that is the goal unless we discover that there are things that our users will lose because of a single database. Cathy stated that she suspected that Jenifer was coming from a cataloger’s viewpoint where the database and the catalog are the same. When you are manipulating the bib record, and editing the bib record if there is only one bib record that tends to be a single catalog from a cataloger’s viewpoint even though you can manipulate the way you view it and have a virtual limited display. Bill said he could see that point but thought that we needed to explore the option and make sure that systems we are considering can do more than the system that we have now. Cathy stated that if we want this discussion to continue with a wider audience that the Blog would be the place to do that. She encourage those who were interested to contribute to this conversation on the Blog.
Cathy moved to the next agenda item which was to determine the structure of the group’s RFP. The structure under consideration was:
1. Introductory statement.
After a brief discussion the group approved the above structure to submit to the Next Gen Committee.
Cathy then moved to a discussion of the introductory statement which the team had edited through e-mail the previous week. The introductory statement being considered was:
The University System of Georgia (USG) Libraries continue to seek operational efficiencies and are committed to collaborating with each other in ways that will improve services to our students and faculty. Improved services will result from streamlining workflows and reducing redundant procedures. The USG Libraries seek a solution that will support shared data and reduce or eliminate duplicate record-keeping and repetitive tasks while preserving options for individual institutional preferences and local customizations. The solution should facilitate the sharing of best practices among member libraries and allow them to collaborate in shared processes and assessment.
After a brief discussion the Team voted to approve the above statement.
Bill Clayton stated that we would need a heading for this group. After a brief discussion the Team decided to retain Collaborative Technical Services as the header.
Cathy stated that she would prepare a more formal document and send to the Team before submitting the structure and introductory statement to the planning committee. The group agreed that it should be submitted to Elijah Scott and Merryll Penson.
Cathy reported that Merryll Penson had suggested a topic that she thought the group should discuss and include in some way in the RFP. Merryll pointed out that in the past much of the discussion about collaboration had centered on the need to assist smaller libraries. Merryll stated that the current reality which includes the recent consolidation of several institutions may require us to change the discussion. She indicated we may now need to consider how collaboration can help newly created larger institutions with multiple campuses. Sherrida Crawford began the discussion describing Valdosta’s experience in absorbing two materials centers that had separate catalogs and the library at Kings Bay campus. She said that she can see how there can be other concerns in these consolidations. She said that having a separation that is beneficial to the end user who wants to know what is available locally in addition to wider availability has not been easy to achieve. Cathy stated that she thought that Merryll’s point was that there were unusual challenges with these consolidations and that these should be considered and included in some way. Bill Clayton stated that a concern was that if there were going to be more consolidations that it is costly to merge these databases together and time consuming. How we configure a next gen system could make that easier. Hallie asked if a single database would be a help. Bill stated that a single database or fewer databases would simplify that because you can make configuration changes rather than building new catalogs. He stated that again the question is are there things about a single database would be detrimental to our users. Bill stated that is the question that we need to answer. Cathy suggested that the other possible question was what can the system do to insure that we don’t lose things that are important to the end user if we move to a shared database. Bill agreed. Are there capabilities in these systems that would allow us to retain those things in a single database? Bill stated that we do not know the answer to that question and that is part of the questions that we need to ask. Hallie asked in addition to considering consolidations is it possible that new institutions could be created. The discussion centered on the fact that while unlikely at the present time it might be possible in the future and should probably be considered while composing our questions.
A discussion of the RFP questions was the next topic. The team decided to take a look at the questions and begin editing the document. The group decided that the document should include a mixture of questions and requests.
Editing was completed for the first two questions. The final draft of the first two items follows.
Granularity of Security. The solution should support administrative and functional authorization and security at multiple levels: individual staff or patron, single institution, subset consortia, and consortium-wide. Describe how your solution handles system security in the assignment and creation of administrative and functional accounts.
Unique Identifiers. Describe how the solution insures that identifiers that are unique at an institution are unique throughout the consortia. This includes but is not limited to item and patron barcodes, university identification numbers, and staff authorization codes.
Bill Clayton asked the group if these two questions were questions that we wanted to ask. The group discussed and decided that collaboration would not be possible without these two questions.
Chris Huff stated that we should add to our questions something that would require the vendor to comment on collaboration and how their solution would facilitate and encourage collaboration. After brief discussion the group decided to preface the questions with the following statement.
In answering the questions below, please include how your implementation will support work in a consortial environment and enhance collaboration.
The group discussed how to continue work on the rfp questions. Chris suggested using different font colors on the Goggle Drive to edit the questions. Cathy commented that the only problem with working on the drive was that you lost the ability to bounce ideas off of the rest of the group. Guy expressed the concern that the document had been available for a couple of weeks without extensive work taking place. The suggestion was made that we try to use e-mail to edit the questions as a group. Most agreed.
Cathy announced the next meeting for Dec. 5 at 12:00. The group discussed adding an additional meeting in December and decided to meet three times in December: Dec. 5, Dec. 12, Dec. 19.
The meeting was adjourned.