TexShare Electronic Information Programs Working Group

Meeting Minutes

March 3, 1999

Members present:

Teresa Ashley, Austin Community College (Tier 1) ; Marianne Bobich, Texas Christian University (Tier 1); Tracy Cuellar, Lee College LRC (Tier 2); Don Dowdey, Sul Ross State University (Tier 3); Linda Levy, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (Tier 2); Elizabeth Norman, Hardin-Simmons University (Tier 2); Todd Peters, Southwest Texas State University (Tier 1); Tommie Wingfield, University of Texas at Arlington (Tier 1); Beverley Shirley (Texas State Library Liaison), Texas State Library and Archives Commission; Sue Phillips (Coordinating Council Liaison), The University of Texas at Austin (Tier 1); Mark McFarland and Rue Ramirez (Technical Support Staff for TexShare), University of Texas at Austin.


Sue Phillips reviewed the history of TexShare for new members. TexShare was funded six years ago, with the first year devoted to planning. TexShare is now in the fifth year of operations.

Current Status of primary TexShare databases

TexShare pays about 75% of the cost of the TexShare subscriptions, which currently consist of ABI/Inform, PAR, and ERIC. Member institutions contribute the remaining 25% of the cost.

TexShare Select Databases

A separate category of databases, called TexShare Select, is offered to member institutions at consortially negotiated prices as optional purchases. Subscribing institutions share the full cost of these subscriptions.

Platform Upgrade

Mark McFarland sent a message to member institutions on February 18th that the platform upgrade was complete and he was "going live" with a test of the server. Performance on the new Sun server is very fast and more secure. The server has built-in redundancy so they will not need to bring the server down for maintenance and upgrades. The new equipment has capacity to triple the current number of users. The target date for switching all users to the new platform is March 18. The old system will run parallel for a few months as a safe guard against unexpected problems. TexShare has a license for 140 slots now and will move to a license for 180 slots with the switch to the new server. The turn-away rate is approaching a 6.5% rate. The new equipment will alleviate this problem.

LDAP Question

Todd Peters asked McFarland: "Where does LDAP authentication on this service stand?"

Answer: It is labor intensive. Some thought is being given to rolling out a service for every institution in TexShare. The member campus would handle authentication. With that in place, the staff in Austin could provide authorization. Certificates are not viable at this time. Any system implemented will consider future use of certificates. By the end of June we will know more about a possible solution. UT Arlington will be a test institution for campus authentication and centrally administered authorization. UT San Antonio is running it�s own LDAP, which was initiated with some UT System support. The early solution seemed to be decentralization: now we want to try centralization.

Follow-up Question

Could this be used for all remote access?

Answer: Probably for more than TexShare, but not for everything. The solution under consideration would use cookies. We are in the early planning phase of such a project.

Additional Money for Databases

Phillips reported that TexShare identified $55,000 in the current budget that can be used for databases, an amount which is expected to be available next year. The group agreed upon three TexShare Select databases based on the priorities identified in the TexShare Select Database Survey, May 1998, compiled by Bonnie McNeely for this working group. The first and third priorities, plus another highly ranked one are being made available to the members.

Statistics for Britannica

Rue Ramirez asked the group how they wished to receive statistical reports on TexShare use of Britannica. The decision was to use the least restrictive method acceptable to Britannica, with the preference being to post the statistics on the TexShare web page and Fred Gilmore�s web page.

TexShare Web Page for Students/Faculty

Tommie Wingfield suggested that a brief TexShare page intended for students and faculty rather than for institutional management be added to the web site. Ramirez agreed to add the page.

Help Desk for TexShare

McFarland reminded the group that a Help Desk icon is on each TexShare web page. You are encouraged to click on the icon for help with TexShare technical problem. You may also place the icon on your own staff web pages to make staff aware of the assistance available to them.

Free Databases

It was suggested by Don Dowdey that significant free databases, such as the Handbook of Texas and Agricola, be included on the TexShare database page. Fred Gilmore already has them listed on the UT Austin web page, and they could be linked to the TexShare page. It was agreed that free databases would be added to the TexShare page.

Survey for Input on Databases

In an effort to know which databases are most wanted by TexShare institutions, a survey will be mailed to all library directors. Wingfield will distribute it, compile the results, and send a follow-up survey to gather information for the July meeting. The survey will have the following sections:
  • classification of the institution
  • the top five databases to which the institution currently subscribes that the institution would take through TexShare if it were offered
  • the top five databases to which the institution does not currently subscribing but might if they were offered through TexShare
  • TexShare supplemental databases to which the institution currently subscribes, such as Galenet, listing the specific services within the group that were chosen

The meeting adjourned at 1:15pm.

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