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Electronic Library Network

Summary of Activities: April - September 1996

Prepared by Deb deBruijn, Anita Cocchia,
Sheila Comeau and Elizabeth Merritt
October, 1995




During April - September 1996, ELN staff concentrated their efforts on:

Preparation of the Strategic Plan for 1997-2000, for subsequent review and endorsement by the ELN Advisory Committee, is in progress.




Professional development & training


ELN, SFU Library, UBC Library and UVic Libraries co-hosted the Access '96: Innovative Technology in Libraries conference, Vancouver, September 30 - October 2. ELN managed all administrative aspects of the conference, including development and support of the conference web site. The conference attracted 212 delegates from across Canada and the U.S., provided an important forum for dialogue among library, computing and network professionals, and exceeded its revenue targets. Proceedings of the conference, including HTML and PowerPoint versions of most speakers' presentations, are available at:


Sheila Comeau delivered an introductory workshop on the World Wide Web at the "Beyond Hope" library conference in Prince George, May 2-4, 1996.

ELN staff consulted with Okanagan University College on their Innovation Fund proposal for a computer-based library instruction tutorial linked to the suite of BRS databases.


Union databases


Production of new releases of the union databases (Serials, Media, OutLook) began in August 1996, with databases scheduled for release in December 1996. Subsequent database production will follow a revised annual schedule (record submission in April, and release of databases in August) in order to make updated databases available to libraries for the beginning of fall term.

ELN and LSB met to consider expansion of the OutLook database. There is a need for OutLook to accommodate more records and participation by more libraries. Following a survey of libraries' usage patterns, ELN proposed that the CD-ROM version of the Media database not be produced in this cycle. This will reduce costs and make room on the discs for expansion. The Media database will be produced in a tape version and mounted on the ELN server at UBC.

Thanks to development work by UBC Library, web access to the databases on the ELN server was made available in test mode.


Reference databases


ELN negotiated a 17-site network license for the Nursing and Allied Health (CINAHL) database on the SilverPlatter ERL platform, and contracted with UVic Library to act as the host site. The license took effect August 1, 1996. SilverPlatter ERL is a client-server system, and some sites who are connecting to the client software via telnet are experiencing problems with functionality. ELN and UVic are working with libraries and SilverPlatter to troubleshoot and resolve these issues.

ELN held discussions with library reference, collections and systems staff at SFU, UBC, and UVic regarding consolidated licenses and shared access to SilverPlatter databases held at their sites. A proposal from SilverPlatter for multi-site pricing was considered, but the savings were not substantial enough to proceed. ELN expects to revisit this project in the coming months.


InfoServ gopher/web service


ELN was awarded funding for a temporary position through the Young Canada Works in Heritage Institutions program (federal initiative to create summer employment opportunities for Canadians.) Doug Brigham, a recent graduate of the UBC School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, was hired for eight weeks to work on HTML authoring and document conversion. An ELN web site was designed, incorporating gopher documents and links to ELN services. Anticipated release date is December 1996, on the Open Learning Agency's server.

The existing InfoServ site will remain as an access point for the Lynx text-based browser. Development on the gopher will cease once the new web site is open.


OJAC management


ELN received a national award in June for the Online Journal Access (OJAC) service. The Canadian Association of College and University Libraries presented its Innovation Achievement Award to ELN in recognition of OJAC's success in improving interlending services and reducing costs. The award also recognized SFU Library staff for their development work and host site support for the service.

Six additional libraries joined OJAC in July. A total of 26 libraries now participate in the service.


Resource sharing methods and policies


ELN continued to coordinate the FileServer Pilot Project, which is testing the effectiveness of the FileServer Interlibrary Loan Management System in improving services and reducing transaction costs. In July, the pilot phase was extended to April 30, 1997, and non-participating libraries were invited to join the project. This change will allow for more extensive use of the system during fall and winter terms. Six additional libraries joined the project, for a total of 16 participating libraries.

In April, ELN and InterLINK (federation of public libraries in the lower mainland) convened a meeting of post-secondary and public library directors from lower mainland institutions. The group discussed issues relating to library use and resource sharing among the two sectors. It was agreed that a public library representative be added to the ELN Resource Sharing Implementation Task Group.

Following a resolution at its May annual general meeting, the Media Exchange Cooperative (MEC) struck a Task Force to review MEC's terms of reference, role and mandate for resource sharing. Recommendations are to be tabled prior to MEC's next AGM. The Task Force includes the MEC Executive, and representatives from the Council of Post-Secondary Library Directors (CPSLD), the Advanced Education Media Acquisitions Centre (AEMAC), and ELN. Deb deBruijn is representing ELN on this group.


Electronic documents


The UMI PowerPages project extends access to the Business Periodicals Global database (full image database mounted at SFU) to other ELN libraries. ELN worked with several libraries who tested the service during spring and summer. A license extension was negotiated for Royal Roads University, who joined the service in July. ELN anticipates bringing other libraries onto the project on a quarterly basis.







Ian Mugridge, to whom ELN had reported since its inception, left OLA in April 1996. ELN now reports to OLA President Glen Farrell.

ELN staff participated in several professional development and training activities, including harassment awareness training (OLA); BCLA, CLA and SCOET conference sessions; library advocacy training; and outcomes-based education seminar.


Member communications


ELN staff visited the following institutions to meet staff, learn about local issues, and discuss services: College of New Caledonia, University of Northern British Columbia, and Douglas College.

ELN staff provided updates on activities and services at meetings of Academic Librarians in Public Services (April) and CPSLD (June).





Strategic alliances


ELN signed an agreement with the Council of Prairie and Pacific Libraries (COPPUL) related to their "Virtual Western Canada University Library" initiative. Under this agreement, ELN will coordinate production and distribution of a union database of serials for the thirteen member libraries of COPPUL. The database will provide consolidated access to COPPUL serials holdings, for subsequent linking to citation database/document requesting services. This project is the first interprovincial endeavour for ELN, and is expected to earn approximately $15,000 in project management revenue for ELN.

ELN and InterLINK continued to work together to identify appropriate databases for shared licensing. Library Services Branch has also expressed interest in exploring joint licensing of selected databases for public library access province-wide. Both full text and index/abstract databases are under consideration. A draft proposal with quotations from vendors is in progress.

Deb deBruijn participated on a sub-group of the province's Distributed Learning Task Force. This working group focused on issues surrounding student and instructional support services. The Task Force is scheduled to table its draft report in December.

Deb deBruijn represented ELN at the National Library of Canada's annual resource sharing meeting, held in conjunction with the Canadian Library Association's annual conference in June. Thanks to the support of the UBC Library, ELN will participate in the National Library's Virtual Canadian Union Catalogue pilot project, designed to test distributed access to databases using the Z39.50 search and retrieval protocol.

Brief discussions were held with one of the consultants engaged by the Forest Renewal BC library consortium regarding information services for FRBC grant holders and possible partnership opportunities.


Marketing and lobbying


Deb deBruijn gave presentations at the BCLA annual conference (April), SCOET Connections '96 conference (May), and CLA annual conference (June).

Anita Cocchia and Sheila Comeau organized and staffed a "Library Consortia in Canada" booth at the CLA conference trade show. This was a joint venture with NEOS (Edmonton-area library network), COPPUL, and Novanet (consortium of university libraries in Nova Scotia.)

ELN staff submitted articles for publication in the BCLA Reporter, CPSLD Newsletter, and Centre for Curriculum and Professional Development Newsletter.

"Partner Library" foil appliqués have been produced for use by ELN libraries on their institutional reports, correspondence, etc. The aim is to provide libraries with a product that identifies them as ELN partners, and can easily be adapted to communications within their organizations.