TexShare Advisory Board Meeting
Meeting Location: AMIGOS Bibliographic Council, Inc., Dallas
During its first meeting of each fiscal year, the TexShare Advisory Board elects officers. For fiscal year 1999, the Board re-elected its current leadership:
Board considers adjustments to TexShare tier structure
In July, the Advisory Board requested that an ad hoc working group look at alternatives for structuring fees for TexShare members. This team (Jay Clark, Sara Lowman, Joe McCord and Sue Phillips) prepared several recommendations, which were presented to the Board by Sue Phillips:
Recommendation 1: maintain library membership; assign tiers by institution. Under this arrangement, institutions with multiple libraries on the same campus will pay one fee for the entire institution. Directors of individual libraries on each campus will continue to determine their library's participation in the TexShare card, courier, database or ILL services.
Institutions included on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's Web listing will be considered TexShare institutional members. Single institutions with multiple libraries will be given one tier assignment. Community colleges will retain the option of joining singly or as part of a district. Single libraries serving more than one institution will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Recommendation 2: information access fee based on tier assignment. Instead of a membership fee, the team suggests an "information access fee," a participation fee that would be linked to each library's willingness to share resources. Libraries that participate in the TexShare ILL and reciprocal borrower's card programs will pay a discounted rate for their database subscriptions. Libraries that opt out of these resource sharing services will pay a higher amount.
TexShare staff and the Coordinating Council will annually recommend the amount of this access fee for each tier. Information to clarify tier assignments will be incorporated in the TexShare Web site. This clarification will include a note that when libraries have FTE in one tier and volumes in another, the higher tier prevails.
Recommendation 3: detach fees from a set percentage of database costs. Traditionally, TexShare members have contributed 25 percent of the total costs of database subscriptions. This 25 percent figure is a carryover from the days when TexShare was run by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
In the upcoming legislative session, the State Library will request significant funding increases for TexShare. To prevent TexShare members from having to increase their payments in proportion to any new appropriations, the team proposes detaching fees from any specific cost sharing percentage.
Recommendation 4: maintain current tier structure criteria. In the Tier Review Team's view, the current tier structure criteria are fine, and should be retained.
Recommendation 5: TexShare tiers should be reviewed periodically. In the team's opinion, TexShare tier assignments are dynamic, and are subject to regular review. The team suggests that staff review all TexShare tier assignments, and reassign libraries based on the recommendations included here. This review should be completed by next March to give TexShare members plenty of time to adapt to any changes.
The Board approved these recommendations, and asked staff to prepare projections based on these assumptions for review at the January meeting. The Board also asked the team to recommend an appeals process, in case libraries dispute their tier assignments.
At its January meeting, the Board will review these projections, and make its final decision concerning the Tier Review Team's recommendations. The Board is committed to implementing any tier reassignments no later than March 1999 to give members plenty of time to prepare. If the Legislation passes to include public libraries in TexShare, the Board will revisit the tiers issue.
Martin reports on TexShare legislative issues
Robert Martin reported on TexShare legislative initiatives, and on the impending appointment of a new public representative to the Advisory Board. This new member is J. Grant Jones of Abilene, a former state senator nominated by Norman Hood. Unfortunately, Mr. Jones was unable to attend the November Advisory Board meeting.
Dr. Martin said the Council of University Presidents has adopted TexShare as an item for their agenda in the upcoming legislative session. He also noted that the Texas Library Association plans to introduce a statute revision to allow the incorporation of public libraries in TexShare. The possible addition of public libraries in TexShare will raise several issues, including:
When the time comes to integrate public libraries into TexShare, the expansion will be carefully planned and implemented incrementally. If the proposed legislation passes, the State Library and the Advisory Board will begin planning for this integration as soon as possible after the legislative session concludes.
Reports from working group liaisons
Electronic Information Programs Working Group
Sue Phillips reported that the most recent TexSelect offerings generated a favorable response: Encyclopedia Britannica elicited 60 TexShare subscribers, while Gale's offering drew 42 TexShare subscriptions.
Both of these vendors offer their products to TexShare members at a reduced price, and invoice participating TexShare libraries directly. As an operating principle, the State Library's Resource Sharing Division handles billing for subsidized TexShare databases, while TexSelect offerings are billed by the vendors directly to participating TexShare libraries.
Phillips said the International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC, formerly known as the Consortium of Consortia) issued on November 9th a statement on statistics libraries need to document usage of web resources. At its 8 November meeting, the Coordinating Council endorsed this statement on behalf of TexShare.
The State Library contracts with UT - Austin for TexShare technical services. In fiscal year 1999, this contract includes funds for upgrading the TexShare server. Mark McFarland, UT's Head of Electronic Information Programs, said the TexShare server upgrade is in process, and the equipment will be up and running during the Spring 1999 semester. To assure more reliable service to member libraries, the new system has load sharing and redundancy. This enhanced server, combined with upgrading the database license to 180 users, will yield faster performance and fewer turnaways.
McFarland is working with the State Library to use $102,703 in carryover TIF (Telecommunications Infrastructure Funds) from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. These funds are earmarked for capital equipment acquisitions related to TexShare, and will be used to upgrade the telecommunications infrastructure and for expanded CPU capacity in the new TexShare server.
UT is experimenting with OCLC's Site Search WebZ software, which provides a Web-accessible interface for distributed information resources. UT has loaded WebZ on their server, and plans to connect to Texas libraries with Z39.50 compliant catalogs. Mark and his staff are also working with Z Texas, the group that's developing a Z39.50 profile for Texas libraries.
Texas Collections Working Group
Kathryn Hoffman said the working group reviewed 22 TexTreasures grant proposals, and recommended eight applications for funding. Next, the group will meet in December to review another round of TexTreasures grants, which will be awarded in January 1999. That will be the first round of TexTreasures grants to be administered by the State Library.
Interlibrary Loan Working Group
Sara Lowman reported that the ILL group will issue a formal report on Ariel's cost-effectiveness. The committee's research indicates that Ariel is most cost effective for larger libraries with high ILL volume.
To balance ILL traffic among TexShare members, the ILL group has distributed "use more/use less" lists to member libraries. These lists encourage members to send ILL to certain libraries, and limit requests to designated sites. During the coming year, the working group plans several steps, including: Web page enhancements, publicizing high-impact ILL departments, and issuing an award for exemplary ILL service.
TexShare Card Working Group
According to Jay Clark, 125 libraries participate in the TexShare's reciprocal borrower's card service. Despite this high 86 percent participation rate, a total of only three items have been reported lost in the past three years. The Advisory Board agreed that this low loss rate needs to be publicized to encourage other TexShare members to participate in this service.
Per the working group's recommendation, the Board agreed to ask individual libraries to report their card usage statistics. TexShare card statistics will be incorporated in the State Library's annual process of gathering statistics from Texas academic libraries.
TExpress Courier Service Working Group
JoAnne Hawkins reported that 83 libraries subscribe to the courier service, and participants praise the service. now that the courier service has been in operation for a year, here is what the working group has learned:
Based on the working group's recommendation, the Board agreed to drop the two-day a week service option. Under this arrangement, the ten former two-day customers will pay $1,700 a year for the courier, an increase of 21 percent. Continuing daily sites will pay $2,100 (a thirteen percent increase). AMIGOS will send invoices to courier participants at these rates.
The additional amount charged to the 73 continuing daily sites will partially offset the higher costs of daily deliveries for sites that formerly had two-day service. This is an interim arrangement during fiscal year 1999. In FY 2000, the State Library has requested funding to subsidize the courier for all TexShare members.
One of the working group's activities, gathering statistics from courier sites, will be incorporated in the State Library's annual statistics gathering process. UT and the State Library will also compile a an electronic mailing list of courier contacts at each institution.
The courier working group is planning a meeting in early 1999. One of the items on their agenda: generating cost avoidance figures for the courier service, and publicizing them to TexShare members.
Education Working Group
Bonnie Juergens is in the process of recruiting members for this new group. This committee will soon start on a survey to determine TexShare training needs. Then they'll outline recommendations for responding to the training needs identified in the survey.
One idea under consideration is an annual TexShare forum. This full-day session might include sessions on database access, digital collection building, Texas Treasures digitization projects, and other TexShare services.
Coordinating Council recommends working group appointments for 1999
TexShare working group members serve three-year terms. Working group chairs serve one-year terms. To fill vacancies on the working groups, the Board invited nominations for working groups. This invitation elicited 65 nominees. After reviewing the list of candidates, the Coordinating Council presented a list of recommendations for the composition of each of the six TexShare working groups.
The board approved these recommendations, and asked working group liaisons to contact the nominees to confirm their willingness to serve. Once the nominees have been contacted and their willingness to serve has been confirmed, the State Library will make the actual appointments.
Board plans program for TLA Conference
The Advisory Board began planning a program at the Texas Library Association Conference in Dallas. This program will be from 8:00 to 9:50 AM on Friday, 23 April 1999. It will be an informational program intended to increase TexShare's visibility. Program elements will include a legislative update and testimonials from TexShare participants. Staff will continue planning for the program, with help from Advisory Board and Coordinating Council members.
Board sets its 1999 meeting schedule
Here are the Advisory Board's meeting dates for fiscal year 1999: