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Electronic Library Network

Summary of Activities: October 1996 - March 1997

Prepared by Deb deBruijn, Anita Cocchia,
Sheila Comeau and Elizabeth Merritt
May, 1997


In March 1997, the ELN Strategic Plan 1997-2000 was finalized and endorsed by the Advisory Committee. The Plan outlines ELN's purpose, vision, and mission, and sets out strategic priorities under the following five goals:

1. To provide access to a wide range of databases and services, and foster the development of intuitive electronic interfaces to worldwide information resources;

2. To facilitate resource sharing among institutions to ensure users have timely and effective access to the province's collective information resources;

3. To provide a mechanism for post-secondary libraries to play a prominent role in educational planning, policy development and program delivery;

4. To take a leading role in the development of multi-type library services and organizational alliances that are mutually beneficial to users and service providers;

5. To generate strong and diverse support for ELN products and services.




Union Databases


New versions of the Serials, Media and OutLook databases were released in January 1997. With this release, the CD-ROM version of the Media database was discontinued, and a tape version only was produced. This decision was taken following consultation with libraries and media resource centres, and results in expansion space on the OutLook CD-ROM and reduced costs. The next updates of the union databases are scheduled for release in August 1997.

ELN and the Library Services Branch (LSB) met with a representative of Auto-Graphics Inc. to discuss their "Impact Online" product. Impact Online is being considered as an Internet-accessible alternative to the current CD-ROM format of the OutLook database.


Database Licenses and Access


University College of the Cariboo and University of Northern British Columbia joined the PowerPages project hosted by Simon Fraser University, which allows for fax retrieval of full-image articles indexed in the ABI/Inform database.

ELN negotiated a consortium-wide license for ABI/Inform Global, through the UMI ProQuest Direct service. This service offers Web access to indexing and abstracts, ASCII full text and images for ABI/Inform, and also allows for continuation of the ABI/Inform tape lease and full image PowerPages system presently hosted by Simon Fraser University.

In February 1997, Sheila Comeau and Deb deBruijn attended a meeting in St. Louis of academic library consortia administrators from across the US, Canada and UK. In all, 56 representatives from 30 academic library consortia were in attendance at this inaugural "Consortium of Consortia" meeting. The meeting involved discussions with 12 major vendors and publishers of electronic journals, to explore diverse pricing, products, data rights and contractual policies as they apply to consortia sales and licensing. The meeting also provided an opportunity to discuss business and electronic licensing issues with other consortia, and to explore the development of model licenses and best practices. Another meeting is planned for Fall 1997.

Modifications and improvements with regard to the Nursing and Allied Health (CINAHL) database continue to be pursued. In response to member feedback, modifications were made to the default displays. Sheila Comeau also made site visits to Douglas College, Kwantlen University-College (Surrey), Camosun College and University College of the Fraser Valley, and worked with local technical support and the UVic host site to troubleshoot.

ELN worked with SFU to make modifications to the display for BRS databases, and to enhance printing options. SFU also upgraded their database server in response to increased usage the BRS databases from ELN users during the Fall 1996 semester.

Sheila Comeau created a Web-based help file to assist users with the ELN Reveal Service site license. The help file is available from the UnCover Reveal Web site: (http://uncweb.carl.org/sitelice/sitelist.html).

Deb deBruijn met in November 1996 with librarians involved or interested in the Data Liberation Initiative. It was determined that there is no substantive role for ELN to play with regard to licensing files or coordinating data storage. However, ELN will investigate possible consortium access to the CANSIM database through the University of Toronto's Web interface.


Resource Sharing


The FileServer Pilot Project continued with the participation of fifteen libraries. The project goal is to improve resource sharing among post-secondary libraries and between post-secondary and public libraries, by implementing automated mechanisms for interlending operations. An Interim Report, summarizing project implementation, statistics and benefits for the period January - December 1996, was released in February 1997.

The FileServer Pilot Project is scheduled for completion on April 30, 1997. Libraries participating in the project will help assess the project according to agreed-upon performance and evaluation criteria. A final report and recommendations will be presented to the ELN Advisory Committee in June 1997.

ELN worked with database vendors to improve the distribution of informational and instructional materials to ELN libraries.

Deb deBruijn participated on the Media Exchange Cooperative (MEC) Task Force to revise their terms of terms of reference. Draft recommendations will go to the MEC AGM in May 1997.

ELN is a participant in the National Library of Canada's Virtual Canadian Union Catalogue (vCuc) pilot project, which is to test distributed access to library catalogues and union databases using the Z39.50 information retrieval protocol. The pilot commences on April 1, 1997.


ELN Web Service


ELN staff reviewed the material produced by the summer Web site development project, and contracted with a graphic designer to complete the image files for the site.


Training and Professional Development


Anita Cocchia organized and co-convened a BCLA Continuing Education workshop on "MARC Format Integration," held in Vancouver November 1, 1996.







The ELN staff received an OLA Quality Service Award in October 1996, for excellent service to external clients.

ELN staff participated in several professional development and training activities, including attendance at the Academic Librarians in Public Service (ALPS) meeting, "Computers in Libraries" conference, and training sessions on business and proposal writing, HTML, graphic layout and design, and Z39.50 information retrieval protocol.


Member communications


ELN staff provided updates on activities and services at meetings of ALPS (December 1996) and the Council of Post-Secondary Library Directors (CPSLD) (October 1996 and February 1997.) ELN also contributed reports to the CPSLD Newsletter, BCLA Reporter and Feliciter.





Strategic Alliances


ELN's contract with the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL) was completed in February 1997 with the release of the COPPUL Serials Database. The contract provided a serials holdings file for COPPUL's Virtual Western Canada University Library initiative, and earned project management revenue for ELN.

ELN signed a letter of agreement with the Commonwealth of Learning for a consultancy to undertake a study of library holdings and systems in the higher education system in Ghana, West Africa. The study is funded by the UK Overseas Development Administration (ODA) and is geared toward increasing library access and capacity in that country. Deb deBruijn is one of two consultants who will visit Ghana during April, 1997, to meet with librarians from the country's five universities and ten colleges and institutes. The final report from the study will make recommendations on establishing a library network for the country.


Marketing and Lobbying


Sheila Comeau and Trish Rosseel (OLA Library) presented a seminar on "Libraries and Distance Learning" at the College Librarians and Media Specialists conference in November 1996. The session demonstrated how ELN services enable libraries to reach learners and educators at a distance.

Deb deBruijn made presentations on ELN to faculty, librarians, and ministry officials. These included presentations to the Info Tech Forum (BCIT, November 1996), Health Libraries Association of B.C. (February 1997), and Ministry of Education, Skills and Training (February 1997.)

ELN produced and distributed foil appliqués for member libraries to use on their reports and correspondence, identifying them as "ELN Partner Libraries."