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Electronic Library Network

Quarterly Summary of Activities: January - March 1995

Prepared for the ELN Advisory Committee
by Deb deBruijn, Anita Cocchia,
and Elizabeth Merritt
May 8 1995

STRATEGIC PLAN

The ELN staff meets regularly to formulate action plans and monitor progress toward achieving the milestones identified in the Strategic Plan. During January - March 1995, priority was given to activities in the following areas:


STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS: IMPROVING AND IDENTIFYING NEW ELN SERVICES AND DELIVERY METHODS

Training

ELN completed negotiations in March with the Standing Committee on Educational Technology (SCOET) to adapt the ELN-developed Internet training manuals for a wider audience, and to produce the manuals in three electronic formats (HTML for a World Wide Web site, ASCII for a gopher site, and a Windows Help File for distribution to post- secondary institutions.) ELN will receive $2,500 from SCOET to develop a World Wide Web chapter for the manuals, and SCOET will also provide ELN with desktop published versions of both documents.

ELN was asked by the OLA Library and Instructional Computing Services department to participate in an Internet training initiative for OLA staff. ELN participated in a preliminary planning meeting, and in the submission of a draft proposal. Depending on other OLA training priorities and funding, ELN will help develop and deliver training later in 1995 that will focus on information retrieval strategies and highlight ELN resources.

ELN also participated in the development of a World Wide Web home page for OLA's Student Library Services. ELN liaised with the OLA Library, providing input on ELN, Library, and Internet resources, and supplied feedback on the design and linkages of the home page.

Union databases

The 1994 versions of the Outlook and Media databases were produced and distributed on CD-ROM to ELN member libraries in February. In addition, the updated Media database was loaded on the ELN server for central access via the Internet. Magnetic tape versions of the Media database were also provided on a cost-recovery basis to four libraries, for mounting on their local systems.

For the first time, the Outlook database was produced on magnetic tape and loaded on the ELN server for central access through the Internet. Much credit for this successful implementation goes to the UBC Library systems staff for their work in loading, building indexes, and testing the database. Central mounting of Outlook allows for more extensive use of the database than is possible with the CD-ROM format, and has also allowed several libraries to reallocate CD-ROM drives previously devoted to the Outlook database.

Work also commenced with member libraries, the UBC Library, and Auto-Graphics to initiate production of the 1995 Serials database. Because both ELN and Auto-Graphics have new staff members responsible for the union database projects, the current production cycle includes additional time for both ELN and Auto-Graphics staff to familiarize themselves with the process. The anticipated release date for the 1995 Serials database is August 1995.

InfoServ gopher

Due to staff changes, revisions to the InfoServ gopher were not completed by the target date of February 1995. ELN, assisted by members of the InfoServ Task Group, finished testing the new InfoServ's menus and links. A review of the requirements to maintain the gopher and to provide documentation is underway. The revised release date for the new InfoServ gopher is June 1995.

Index/Abstract databases

Reader's Guide Abstracts was mounted at Simon Fraser University, and released in February to all ELN libraries participating in this project.

Work to link the Serials database with most index/abstract databases at SFU and UBC was completed in January. All eight Wilson databases (ART, ASTI, BAI, EDI, GSI, HUM, RGA, and SSI), ABI/Inform, CBCA, CIJE, and PsycInfo now display the serial holdings of all ELN libraries who contribute to the Serials database.

CARL UnCover successfully linked the Serials database with their table of contents service, available through the ELN gateway (eln.carl.org). ELN has been working with UnCover to design customized screens and messages, for planned implementation in May- June 1995.

ELN completed negotiations for the index/abstract databases for 1995/96, including cost reductions for Microlog, additional discounts against the tape lease price for PsycInfo, and a two-month extension of the current license for CARL UnCover to compensate for connectivity problems during summer 1994. ELN also initiated negotiations with UnCover for a province-wide site license for their Reveal service, which had been included in the cost of CARL UnCover the previous year, but which UnCover announced in March would be moving to a fee-based service effective April 1, 1995. Total cost of database licenses for 1995/96, including host site support for databases mounted centrally at UBC, SFU, and UVic, stands at $291,226, compared with $283,826 for 1994/95.

Discussions continued with UVic and Gale Research, regarding an appropriate hardware/software platform and ongoing license for the Canadian Periodical Index. ELN member access to this database has been delayed, pending work by UVic to implement a suite of client-server software called Isite, and also pending extension of the network license by Gale Research, who purchased CPI from Infoglobe in 1994. Current plans are to have a version of the CPI database mounted for testing during May - July 1995, and available for general release by August 1995.

ELN held preliminary discussions with UBC Library regarding extending access for ELN libraries to the Medline and CINAHL databases mounted on the CD Plus system. Further discussions to identify costs, license and access issues associated with this option are still pending. ELN's goal is to implement a pilot project for access to these health databases by September 1995.

OJAC Management

Four new sites (Camosun College, College of New Caledonia, Kwantlen College, and University of Victoria) joined the OJAC service in January, with another four sites scheduled to begin participating in April, for a total of twenty OJAC participants. A call for agenda items has been sent to OJAC participants for a planned teleconference in June on OJAC changes and enhancements. Work on an OJAC procedures manual was delayed until appropriate ELN staffing was in place.

Review of Resource Sharing Methods and Policies

A Resource Sharing Implementation Task Group was established and terms of reference developed. The Task Group met twice in March to agree on tasks, timeline and process for conducting its work. Phase I of the Task Group's work has focused on investigating the feasibility of ELN assuming management of the B.C. Post-Secondary Interlibrary Loan Network (NET). Preliminary proposals regarding operational requirements, transition plan, funding and timeline were prepared for distribution to ELN library directors, Interlibrary Loan Working Group, and Media Working Group.


REVIEWING, CLARIFYING AND STRENGTHENING ELN MANAGEMENT, GOVERNANCE, AND MEMBER PARTICIPATION

Position reviews and ELN staffing

Significant time was spent during the January-March period on activities to recruit and train staff, and also to manage responsibilities normally held by other ELN staff. While this has meant that some initiatives could not commence or proceed in the time originally planned, it has also permitted a rethinking of ELN priorities, staff responsibilities, and a more thorough familiarization on the part of the ELN Manager with the day-to-day operations of the network.

Following review of fifteen applications and interviews with four shortlisted candidates, Anita Cocchia was appointed to the position of Librarian/Analyst (part-time, temporary) effective February 13 - August 31, 1995.

Jacqueline Bradshaw resigned her position with ELN to assume another position in the Open Learning Agency, effective March 1.

A recruitment process to hire a full-time Librarian/Analyst was undertaken in March, and a shortlist of four applicants were interviewed from a total of thirty-seven for the position. Sheila Comeau was appointed to the position, with a starting date of May 1.

A review of the current duties and responsibilities for the Librarian/Analyst and Secretary positions was initiated. Based on indications that the responsibilities have expanded significantly since these positions were originally classified, ELN began preparations to request reclassification of these positions. The position reviews by an OLA committee are expected to take place in June 1995.

Charter of Member Responsibilities

The Charter of Member Responsibilities Task Group met via teleconference in January, and agreed on the structure and desired elements for a draft charter. The group also reviewed a variety of material and literature compiled by ELN from other networks and consortia. Further work on this initiative was delayed due to staff changes in the ELN office. The revised plan is to have a draft charter ready for review by ELN members and the Advisory Committee by Fall 1995.


STRATEGIC POSITIONING AND FINANCIAL WELL-BEING OF THE ELN

ELN Funding

ELN submitted to the Ministry a 1995/96 budget document that reported on ELN accomplishments since its inception in 1989, presented a justification for continuing the project, and requested funds for the 1995/96 fiscal year based on strategic objectives. ELN received Ministry funding of $394,383 (no reduction from the previous two budget years) based on this submission.

Strategic Alliances

In January, ELN participated in a week-long evaluation of library systems and vendors, as part of the Consortium for Administrative Systems Development (CASD) project to evaluate and recommend library management software for nineteen college and institute libraries. The ELN Manager also joined the project Steering Committee in March.

ELN and InterLINK established a joint liaison task force, to identify areas for cooperation and extending services that are of mutual benefit. ELN's representatives on this task force are Lynn Copeland, Deb deBruijn, and Frieda Wiebe. The first meeting of the task force was scheduled for April 1995.

The ELN Manager attended a seminar on restructuring interlibrary loan services, sponsored by the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL) in March. This participation afforded ELN the opportunity to begin discussing with COPPUL some regional approaches to resource sharing.

ELN appointed a representative (Kulwant Gill, University College of the Fraser Valley) to the ISM AVISO Users Advisory Group. This representation will give ELN libraries a voice in recommending functional requirements for AVISO, as well as identifying priorities for software developments that would link AVISO with other network services in the B.C. post-secondary environment.