TexShare Electronic Information WG Minutes

November 29, 2000


Tommie Wingfield, Chair (University of Texas at Arlington), Marianne Bobich (Texas Christian University), Tracy Cuellar (Lee College LRC), Jane Dillon (Carrollton Public Library), Robert Gaines (Central Texas Library System), Linda Levy (University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio), Alice Nixon (South Texas Library System), Elizabeth Norman (Hardin-Simmons University), Todd Peters (Southwest Texas State University), Sue Phillips (University of Texas at Austin), Janis Test (Abilene Public Library), Syma Zerkow (Houston Public Library), Beverley Shirley (Texas State Library and Archives Commission liaison), Michael Piper (Texas State Library and Archives Commission), Deborah Littrell (Texas State Library and Archives Commission), Gloria McClanahan (Texas Education Agency — Guest), Mary Lankford (Texas Education Agency — Guest)

1. Review recent LRS audit and RFP procurement process

Michael Piper explained how our task may be affected by the recent internal audit of LRS which recommended a change from direct purchase (which allowed negotiation) to a formal bid or RFP procedure. It will be at least several weeks before Michael will know for sure, so he asked that we focus on making recommendations for categories of databases rather than for specific databases. That will allow our work to be used with either purchasing procedure. Michael also explained that state agencies must encumber at least two thirds of their budget by May 31, which is the beginning of the 4th quarter of the state fiscal year.

2. Review proposed timeline for database purchases

Beverley Shirley presented a tentative timeline for determining the core databases: vendor demonstrations in February; compile the results or our evaluations in March; get Library and Archives Commission approval in May. The subsidized databases might be selected in April.

3. Review Survey Results

The response to the survey was quite good: well over half of the academic libraries and about 20% of the public libraries, plus 12 medical libraries. Members reported that some respondents may have been confused about aspects of the survey which might have affected the rankings, particularly the meaning of some of the categories and whether to assume that all databases were on the table.

The WG focused on the top ten categories as indicated by their total vote by all groups. Using a flip chart sheet for each of these 10 categories, we determined how they were ranked by each group (4 year, community college, medical, and public), and then identified representative database titles and features specific to that category. We also began development of a "standard features" list; the standard and category-specific features will be ranked (or weighted) so that only a minimum number will be must-have.

Beverley will collect the information recorded on the flip chart sheets. She may also provide members with an additional analysis of the survey data.

4. Determine goals for database program and purchase priorities

Sue pointed out that the minutes of the March 10, 2000 TexShare Advisory Board indicate that having 3 tiers (free core, subsidized, and local purchase at statewide price) as described in the Fees Task Force letter was merely a goal rather than a requirement. Sue believes that if we must use bids or RFPs and end up with only a free core (and perhaps a statewide price on others), we would still be complying with the spirit of the goal, especially since it might be impossible to continue the subsidized databases (the existing subsidized databases might have been a one-time buying opportunity). It is also not clear how the TexShare Select program (local purchase at statewide price) would fit within an RFP process.

We agreed to:

  • Focus on the core for now and worry about the subsidized databases after we know the purchasing procedure
  • Consider only resources remotely hosted on vendor or aggregator platforms
  • Consider only those resources having a Web interface; a telnet interface will not be a requirement
  • Investigate state requirements for ADA compliance (Beverley will report)
  • Recommend that TexShare communication mechanisms for information about electronic resources be reviewed and that an FAQ be prepared to inform libraries of current services available, the current process for selection of new services, and the potential for a significant change in services beginning June 1, 2001.

Unfinished business:

  • Whether there would be any current databases which must be purchased for next year (some members stated that continuity is important in training and encouraging database use)

4. Review evaluation worksheets, recommend changes, approve final

The evaluation format provided by Beverley needs to be reorganized into 2 sections: one for content criteria and one for search engine criteria. The criteria need to be stated more precisely, perhaps adding a response scale where needed to avoid all or nothing answers. Jane will send Beverley a copy of the format her library used. Beverley will send us a revised version for comment.

Beverley should prepare a separate questionnaire to be completed by vendors to determine factual questions such as whether and how the vendor provides use statistics, ASCII or page image, etc.

If at all possible, our criteria for our evaluation of the databases should be developed separately from the criteria for scoring bids or RFP responses, or, at the least it should be a subset of the bid/RFP scoring. The Working Group asked to have significant input in all criteria and weighting factors used to score bid responses, including content, search engine, and infrastructure aspects. (The idea is to avoid having the purchasing procedure determine how we evaluate the usefulness of the services.)

5. Establish procedure for selecting eBook collection

The initial netLibrary collection of about 5,000 titles and 9,000 items was selected by an ad hoc committee of members of our WG and others under a 2-week deadline.

We agreed to establish a standing netLibrary Committee of WG members and others. Todd Peters will chair and the participants in the ad hoc committee who were present agreed to continue with the new committee. They will prepare a collection development plan to guide future purchases and select new titles as required. If there is no specific allocation for 2001 purchases, they may also develop a wish list of titles in case there are end-of-year funds that must be spent quickly.

The committee needs statistics by subject area, such as those on the report for the Amigos Shared Collection. Beverley will request that such a report be generated. Sue will ask Dennis Dillon to report to the Working Group on how netLibrary is used at UT Austin. Beverley will set up a list for discussing netLibrary issues.

We agreed that it is essential for widespread use that each library have bibliographic records for netLibrary titles in its catalog. OCLC and Amigos can provide them for a nominal cost; Sue will get details.

We did not agree on whether there should be a specific allocation of 2001 funds for more netLibrary titles. (Beverley and Sue suggested buying more titles now, anticipating that bece TexShare Advisory Board.

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