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Electronic Library Network

Annual Summary of Activities: April 1995 - March 1996

Prepared by Deb deBruijn, Anita Cocchia,
Sheila Comeau and Elizabeth Merritt
June, 1996




ELN's priorities in 1995/96 were aimed at achieving the "milestone" goals identified in the ELN Strategic Plan (1994-1996).

In January 1996, ELN convened a two-day planning session for a representative group of stakeholders, to revisit the existing plan. Following review and endorsement by the ELN Advisory Committee, the revised Strategic Plan will be implemented in 1997.







ELN staff taught two Internet training courses, Basic Internet Tools and Internet Research Tools, through Vancouver Community College's Continuing Education Division.

In partnership with the Standing Committee on Educational Technology (SCOET), ELN's Internet training manuals were expanded and adapted for faculty use in BC post-secondary institutions. The revised manuals have been made available in print and electronic formats.

An overview of BRS Search commands (search and retrieval software used for ELN databases mounted at Simon Fraser University) was developed and distributed electronically, to help library staff and users search the databases more effectively. Search tips were also developed to ease implementation of the new full text version of the Canadian Business and Current Affairs database.


Union databases


Two editions of the Serials Database were produced and released (August 1995 and February 1996.) New participants in the database include Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, Yukon College, and the Priestly Law Library at the University of Victoria.

New editions of the OutLook and Media Databases were released in February/March 1996.


Reference databases


A new feature linking ELN's UnCover table of contents service (eln.carl.org) with the 1995 Serials Database was released in November 1995. This customized feature will continue with each new release of the Serials database.

Negotiations proceeded with SilverPlatter to license the Nursing and Allied Health Database (CINAHL). Pending agreement by participating ELN libraries on license costs, ELN will proceed with a project plan to make the database available through an ELN host site.

An ELN Task Group on Database Cost-Sharing examined issues surrounding the current model for sharing database costs among ELN libraries, investigated alternatives and made recommendations for the 1996/97 fiscal year. These recommendations were endorsed by the ELN Advisory Committee for implementation in 1996/97.


InfoServ gopher/web service


A preliminary proposal for transition from the gopher to a full World Wide Web service was prepared. ELN libraries' technological needs and user capabilities are major considerations of the plan. A Web site project plan was approved for use of the OLA Web Server, and conversion of documents has begun.


Resource sharing methods and policies


An ELN Resource Sharing Implementation Task Group was struck to examine tiered levels of interlibrary loan service and alternatives to current pricing structures. The first phase of the Task Group's work was completed in October 1995, when ELN assumed management of the B.C. Post-Secondary Interlibrary Loan Network (NET), including administrative services for the Media Exchange Cooperative (MEC). NET/MEC procedures have been streamlined through use of redesigned lending activity forms, and consolidated billing/reimbursement for NET, MEC and OJAC transactions.

A joint pilot project of ELN and the Library Services Branch (LSB) commenced in January 1996. Selected post-secondary libraries are using the LSB FileServer Interlibrary Loan Management System, with the goal of reducing staff time to manage requests, reducing telecommunications costs, and distributing the request load more evenly among supplying libraries.


Electronic documents


ELN implemented two full text database projects in 1995/96. The Canadian Business and Current Affairs: Full-Text database was made available for ELN libraries in January 1996. In addition, a pilot project to extend access to the Business Periodicals Global database (full image database mounted at Simon Fraser University) took place from October 1, 1995 to March 31, 1996, and involved SFU, UBC, and Malaspina University-College. This project will be expanded to include other ELN libraries who wish to participate.


Technology plan


ELN staff developed and completed a technology survey of ELN libraries, in order to assess needs and capabilities, and to form a basis for future technology plans. ELN also met with library system managers of the ELN host sites to explore options for a new Web-based "ELN gateway" to databases and shared services.







ELN had several staff changes during 1995/96. Sheila Comeau and Anita Cocchia joined ELN as full-time Librarian/Analysts in May and June 1995 respectively. Maureen Witney, who had been on leave from ELN since January 1995, resigned her position as part-time Librarian/Analyst in May 1995.

ELN staff have participated in several training and professional development programs throughout the year, including library conference and continuing education sessions, in-house training programs offered through OLA, and external project management seminars.

As part of OLA's annual Quality Service Awards, ELN received honourable mention for their team service to external clients, and Elizabeth Merritt received an honourable mention for individual service to external clients.

Anita Cocchia was selected from over 100 nominees as one of 24 participants in the Northern Exposure to Leadership Institute, held at Emerald Lake, B.C. in February 1996. The Institute's objective is to "assist professional librarians who have been identified as having leadership potential to develop, strengthen and exercise their leadership skills."


Member communications


ELN staff visited the following libraries to meet staff and discuss services, system configurations, and issues: BCIT, Camosun College, Capilano College, Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design, Institute of Indigenous Government, Justice Institute, Kwantlen University College, Langara College, Malaspina University-College, Royal Roads University, University College of the Fraser Valley, and VCC King Edward Campus.

ELN staff gave a presentation on ELN activities and initiatives at the December 1995 meeting of the Academic Librarians in Public Service (ALPS).





Strategic alliances


ELN and InterLINK formed a liaison task force to investigate joint initiatives. Work to date has focused on expanding the ELN Serials Database to include InterLINK libraries; extending selected ELN database licenses to include InterLINK libraries; and expanding the InterLINK truck delivery service to include ELN libraries in the lower mainland.

ELN participated in the National Library of Canada's annual resource sharing meeting in June 1995. The meeting dealt with the National Library's Virtual Canadian Union Catalogue initiative, in which ELN expects to participate.

Deb deBruijn met with library directors from the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL) in March 1996, to discuss collaboration on regional resource sharing initiatives. A contractual arrangement for ELN services to be provided to COPPUL is expected to follow.


Marketing and lobbying


ELN promoted the role of the network and post-secondary libraries to government, through numerous publications, presentations and meetings. These included responses to the Ministry's draft strategic plan documents; response to the Provincial Learning Network Requirements document; a written brief and meeting with Chief Information Officer Jo Surich regarding libraries' role in the Electronic Highway Accord; and a brief to the Ministry regarding ELN funding.

Articles summarizing ELN activities, services and benefits were published in Feliciter (Canadian Library Association journal), BCLA Reporter, CPSLD Newsletter, Centre for Curriculum and Professional Development Newsletter, Contact.bc.ca (SCOET publication showcasing educational technology initiatives in the province), and For Openers (OLA's internal newsletter.)

Deb deBruijn gave presentations to SCOET in April 1995, and at the BCLA Annual Conference in May 1995. ELN staff also participated as invited speakers at an international conference on libraries of the future, sponsored by Harvard College Libraries, in March 1996.

ELN developed and implemented a major communications plan, which included design of an ELN logo, communications materials, and brochures. Marketing packages and reproduction sheets were provided to each ELN library to assist them in their communication and promotional efforts.


Multi-type library initiatives


ELN participated on the BCLA Task Force on Multi-type Library Networks.


ELN funding


ELN secured Ministry funding for 1996/97 at the same level as 1995/96, an indication of the Ministry's support for ELN despite the federal reductions in transfer payments to the province.