TexShare Quarterly Report
TexShare Advisory Board
The Advisory Board met on November 30 in Dallas. The first order of business was the unanimous re-election of Joe McCord as Chair. The chief action of the Board was approval of the 1995/96 budget (see attached budget). In addition to reports on ongoing activities, major topics discussed were the need for a more permanent management structure and expanded membership to include the community colleges as well as private colleges and universities.
It was decided to hold future meetings in Houston based on the current membership of the Board. A hotel will be selected, and the schedule of future meetings issued shortly.
Regional Library Materials Acquisitions Councils
During the first quarter each TexShare library director was contacted to confirm their library's representative to a Regional Library Materials Acquisitions Council. The purpose of the Regional Councils is to identify cooperative collection analysis initiatives with the goal of making the most efficient use of resources.
The geographic organization of Regional Councils was decided upon with the understanding that the structure would be reviewed at the end of the year. Councils were organized based on the Texas Library Association (TLA) geographic districts with two exceptions. The TLA districts in West Texas will combine to form one Regional Council. Similarly, districts in South Texas will combine to form one Council.
Each Regional Council is expected to meet by the end of the next quarter. In addition to identifying cooperative collection analysis projects each Council will select a representative to join the TexShare Library Materials Council. This working group will meet after initial regional meetings occur with the purpose of sharing information discussed at Regional Council meetings and to review the Survey of Library Holdings and develop a process for awarding TexShare support for access to local holdings.
TexShare Web / Gopher Service
The TexShare Web / Gopher Services met and exceeded their established goal of 25,000 requests for information per month for the first quarter of 95/96. Together, the services handled an average of 50,698 requests for information each month.
One hundred percent of the TexShare libraries with the capability to access the service did so. Connectivity difficulties for two libraries prevented their access. While several other libraries did not appear to be using the service. Staff in those libraries indicated they are indeed accessing the service through a route that does not permit separate identification of their institution.
November 1995 has seen the highest use to date, with an average of 81 requests for information per hour. Sixty-six percent of the use is on the Web service; thirty-four percent on the Gopher. Thirteen percent of the requests come through the character-based client.
The most requested page in the TexShare Web / Gopher for the first quarter was the Building Digital Libraries page, which was requested over 4,300 times in November alone. This page embodies the very principles of TexShare. Developed by Mark McFarland of UT Austin, the page "is intended to provide links to information about hardware, software, vendors and current digital library projects that I am aware of. There is no blueprint here - only a collection of information about and links to products and services that may be of use to those of us proceeding down the path of creating digital libraries. Since the TexShare project is based on the idea of resource sharing it is the intention of this page to support statewide efforts to provide digital information in a way that makes it accessible to all who are involved in the education process." This page has, in turn, been listed nationally on several other resources with a focus on digital libraries. In this way, as in others, TexShare is making a contribution to national resource sharing as well.
One interesting item to note is the increasing use of the TexShare Web / Gopher by the commercial online services. Over the last several months, America Online and CompuServe have begun to offer Internet access to their customers. As a result, the TexShare Web / Gopher are seeing use by those Internet users as well. For example, requests from America Online were slightly below 900 per month for September and October, then rose to 1500 for November. The TexShare Web / Gopher managers monitor system usage and there is no indication of degradation of service due to access from these users. It is likely, in fact, that some of this use is due to users who are actually from a TexShare library and are using these commercial services to gain Internet access from home.
Statistics for this service are attached at the end of this report.
TexShare Commercial Database Service
The use of ABI/Inform and Periodical Abstracts via the Ovid search engine has been a successful service for all TexShare libraries. Peak use occurred in November 1995, with a maximum of 69 concurrent users. The heaviest usage occurred during the afternoon time period, averaging about 40 users. Overall average use during November was 35 concurrent users, with an average of 1,600 sessions per day. Fifty-five percent of the use to date had been on ABI/Inform; forty-five percent on Periodical Abstracts.
The four highest users are UT Arlington (20%), Texas Tech (17%), University of Houston (11%), and UT El Paso (11%). Any concerns that the largest libraries would dominate the service were allayed, with UT Austin accounting for 4% of the use and Texas A&M, 3%.
During the first quarter, at one point University of Houston had 32 concurrent users, UT Permian Basin had 22 concurrent users, and UT Pan American and Stephen F. Austin each had 19 concurrent users. It is likely that this occurred when training sessions were being held on those campuses.
Like the TexShare Web / Gopher service, cabling problems in two libraries prevented access. Similarly access by several other libraries is through a path that does not permit separate identification. Individual libraries which had usage levels that seemed lower than expected were contacted. In each case, library staff reported that due to various equipment and staffing conditions, they were not able to provide public access to the databases. Access was currently limited to staff only. In each case, staff were attempting to remedy the situation and do intend to fully utilize the service.
ProQuest Document Delivery Service
Finalized during October 1995, the ProQuest Direct Document Delivery Service is beginning to be installed in TexShare libraries. UMI, the service vendor, provided software, and subsequent software updates, to each library. Packets fully describing the service were scheduled to be sent to each library shortly after the close of the first quarter. ProQuest Direct is a new and developing service, both for TexShare and the vendor.
Federal Register and Commerce Business Daily
Other vendors of these and similar services were considered and reviewed by staff in TexShare libraries. This review indicated that Counterpoint provided the best overall value and most complete service. These services were renewed and, under the terms of the negotiated contract, are currently available to all TexShare libraries, Texas Community Colleges, and users of Tenet, the Texas Education Network.
TexShare Library Card Program
The TexShare Library Card Program Agreement was completed in June 1995 and sent to library directors for authorization and signature by university presidents or chancellors. The program officially began August 1, 1995.
As signed letters of agreement were received, packets of program materials were sent to each library's designated TexShare Library Card Program liaison. Packets included:
- Supplies of TexShare cards; 20,425 cards were sent by October 23 to the 44 participating libraries.
- A press release for local use.
- Instructions for mounting the library's circulation policies on the TexShare Gopher and Web server.
- An example of a TexShare Library Card policy, developed by Circulation Services staff at UT Austin, for libraries to use as a model.
Supplies of TexShare Library Card Program brochures were sent separately to liaisons for local distribution.
The TexShare Library Card Program is listed under both TexShare and Library Services on the TexShare Gopher and Web. Included under the program's listing are the text of the agreement, a list of TexShare libraries, and lending policies of participating libraries. Twenty libraries had posted their policies as of November 30, 1995.
To date, 44 libraries have returned signed letters of agreement and have designated liaisons. A mailing list has been established for these liaisons to provide updates, to gather statistics, and to announce items of interest about the program.
Libraries are advertising the program with news releases, articles in library publications, notices to faculty, e-mail notices, and announcements at faculty orientation sessions.
Via the mailing list, liaisons were asked for statistics on the use of the program in their libraries from August 1 through November 30, 1995. The 23 libraries reporting issued 1,277 cards to people on their campuses; 300 people presented TexShare cards at other libraries; and these same 300 people completed at least 2,669 circulation transactions.
The most common problem encountered with the program so far is that some TexShare borrowers assume that the services offered at another library under the program are the same as those they enjoy at their home libraries. Libraries can deal most effectively with this problem by training staff to caution borrowers that privileges vary from library to library, and borrowers should check in advance to ensure their needs can be met.
The Working Group, now chaired by Bill Mears, planned to meet at the American Library Association Midwinter Conference to review the program and to consider any changes that may be required.
TexShare Courier Working Group
The original charge to the TexShare Courier Document Delivery Project Working Group was to investigate a statewide document delivery system which will provide 24-hour delivery of documents between TexShare libraries, and to produce a report on the feasibility of such a contract by August 31, 1996.
Jo Anne Hawkins requested nominations to the Working Group through the TexShare Mailing List and by mail to library directors in October 1995. Fifteen nominations were received. After consultation with Advisory Board Chairman Joe McCord and members of the TexShare management team, ten people were selected. All ten agreed to serve on the Working Group and were confirmed by the Advisory Board at its meeting on November 30, 1995. These ten people will provide a broad range of representation from libraries across the state. Gary Ives, UT Medical Branch at Galveston, has agreed to chair the group. Carolyn Thorne, Dallas County Community College District, has been appointed as liaison for the community colleges.
Additional members of the Working Group are: Amy Chang, Texas Tech University; Kathryn Connell, UT Southwestern Medical Center; Mark Dolive, University of North Texas; Scott Downing, East Texas State University; Peter McGuiness, Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi; Bonnie McNeely, UT Pan American; Karen Nichols, Lamar University; Tony Rodarte, UT El Paso; and Eleanor Wilson, Sul Ross State University.
The Working Group is conducting a literature survey on courier and document delivery services. The first meeting was scheduled for January 12, 1996 in Dallas.
A revised version of the ILL Protocol was posted to the TexShare Mailing List in August 1995. Throughout September comments were received on this document. During October and November, the Working Group discussed these comments and revised the Protocol accordingly. Also, a formula for reimbursing significant net lenders at the conclusion of the trial period was devised.
TexShare staff made presentations at the following meetings:
- Texas State Council of University Librarians, Annual Meeting Austin, September 14 - 15
- Association of Texas Colleges and Universities, Higher Education Partnership Showcase Houston, October 1
- Texas Library Association, District 8 Meeting Baytown, October 7
1995/96 TexShare Budget
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board $493,700
TexShare Libraries Cost-Sharing
1994/95 Payment 129,100
1995/96 Payment 129,100
Carry Forward, 1994/95 5,000
Administration & Staffing
Administrative Assistant (Including
benefits) $ 22,312
Office Supplies/Photocopying 750
Postage/Expedited Delivery 750
Subtotal $ 24,812
Advisory Board $ 8,000
Working Groups 14,000
Project Staff 16,000
Subtotal $ 38,000
Ariel Workshops (3) $ 650
Commercial Database Services Workshops (2) 450
Subtotal $ 1,100
Brochures $ 900
Library Cards 375
Subtotal $ 1,275
Commerce Business Daily $ 1,000
Federal Register 10,000
Document Delivery (UMI) 200,300
Ovid/UMI Databases (ABI/Inform &
Periodical Abstracts Research II) 396,165
Access to Local Holdings $ 50,000
Contingency Fund $ 33,798